Cyber Bullying

My friend, Randy Thomas, posted this and I want everyone to have a chance to see it.  My neighborhood at VOX is very nice and not prone to bullying.  Maybe we all know someone who might see more of it.  I'm also posting it over at myspace where some other folks tend to stop by.  Anyway, here is the post.

From Randy Thomas at Randy Thomas's Blog.

Please watch the video before reading my thoughts after the jump …


What I love about this video is that it perfectly translates online bullying to what it might look like in real life.  The stage = blog or social networking site.  The little girl personifies anonymous rant blogger but still grins and acts cute when she goes back to her non-public (offstage) life.  The crowd are the lurkers reading the rant and the young girl who is the target of the bullying, her expressions look like they would if she was actually reading them on a computer monitor.

A lot has been said about this phenomenon happening among high school girls but I am thinking it is happening across all age groups across all issues represented in the blogosphere. 

I am all for free speech but I would hope people would at least try to be adult and civil online just as they would offline.  That doesn't mean stifling opinion or not getting into a spirited discussion.  It does mean that bratty emotional 12 year olds won't be entertained until they decide to pull their act together and take personal responsibility for their words and actions.

Hat Tip: Joe Carter

I appreciate Randy taking time to post this because of the many discussions I've been in lately where the topics of courtesy, etiquette, friendship, politics, religion and the like have crossed into discussions about how and why people say the things they do.

In the cybersphere there is a sense of anonymity and detachment that I am working to navigate.  I am a person who likes connecting but in the past several years I have received email communications that have shocked me.  People write all of what they think and hit that "send" button and off it goes with no regard to what it does to the person who receives that communication.  In the place where my daily ministry is to the hurting person, I hear stories all the time of communication between people that are said in the name of "loving confrontation" or "just being honest" and I, sit back in horror at the devastation that is left behind in the soul of a person.  More lately, as I am becoming acquainted with the blogosphere, I am surprised at the power of this to sway our points of view.  People are mobilized by its power.  People are enraged through its power.  People are informed by its power.  Radio, which used to be my media of choice, talks about the blogosphere quoting bloggers and responding to bloggers and giving credence to bloggers and blogs as their media of choice.  This is strangely powerful.

I like the video.  I'd add that if you won't say it to someones face, don't blog it…don't email it…don't share it with others…don't repeat it to your spouse… don't…. don't.

I'd also like to add that while disagreement and misunderstandings and prejudice and fear and beliefs and convictions do exist and should be talked about, I still think that courtesy and kindness should be the rule of the day.  Politeness is not weak.  It is polite.  Confrontations can escalate but I still think they don't have to.  I think we can hold our tongue and I'm working on it again to refrain from caustic language, profanity and harshness.

Lately, I have entered into the fray in blogland.  I am finally commenting on the blogs where I am reading.  I am finally saying what I think and where I agree and disagree and why.  If the language of others is caustic I am trying to avoid being provoked.  The voice of the Christian in the marketplace is both necessary and not nearly visible enough.  I don't think everyone needs to hear my bible quoting.  I think they need my voice and perspective.  I am asking more questions and responding more often.

Randy wrote about this over on his blog here.  I encourage you to comment here and then pop on over to Randy and comment there.  His blog is a unique voice and our comments will draw attention to it.

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5 thoughts on “Cyber Bullying

  1. Cyberbullying- bad. At the age/maturity level of junior high kids like in the video, bullying face to face is almost as easy as online. However, adults normally wouldn't do what kids do in person. Why do we do it online?I think it's because of the anonymity you spoke of. No one really knows who you are. There's a lot of 'freedom' out here. It's easy, for me anyway, to see this as an imaginary world and forget that there are real people on the other end of the computer; I'm not just communicating with a computer.Also, the lack of physical contact, eye contact, tone of voice, etc. that we rely on in normal face to face conversation is not here online; that probably gives way to a lot of misunderstanding. I've been involved in online discussions, where the other person and I argued (though politely as possible) until I realized we agreed on most things; there was just lack of communication because just writing to one another is so limited.

  2. Thanks for sharing. Makes me think about things that I post on blogs. I read that a good rule of thumb is to never post something online that you wouldn't mind being printed on the front page of a large newspaper.

  3. What a powerful video. I just felt for that poor girl in the audience having to listen to that. I think people forget that behind every keyboard and monitor is a real person who does have feelings. Sad really. Thanks for sharing this one. Is it Ok to link to our own blogs?

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