The Power of the Cyber Post

Hiding behind computer screens or phones.

 

Cyber bullying is becoming a phenomenon spreading around the world.  I was recently asked to discuss the issue by a very helpful and informative organization called “ No Bullying ”.

 

I always find the dynamics of texting, on-line posts and emailing new and interesting. Of particular note is the depth of the emotional impact that a person can sustain from a hostile or erroneous message or post.  I have patients who sit across from me and read back a text that someone – a wife, a husband, a boss, or someone they can’t stand – sent to them.  The dynamic there is that in the text message, you can essentially be very harsh and cruel and not be accountable for the consequences of bullying.  It reminds me of someone dropping a bomb from 3,000 feet up and not being able to be seen afterwards because there’s no physical confrontation possible. Cyber bullying allows the bully to feel a sense of distance and safety because the victim is not there or available immediately. While a text can be sent back, they’re a step removed. So, to me it allows for bullying to be more widespread and for those who may not have done it before to easily engage in its use.

 

The other interesting thing is if you want to humiliate someone. For example, if you are standing in the schoolyard you can call someone names or point out something that they did.  The schoolyard is a smaller universe – only the people within earshot of the remarks are involved. But if you can humiliate someone via text or email or Facebook, literally the whole world can see it.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be true but it can be very, very damaging nonetheless. So, in my mind technology has opened up  bullying to other audiences. People that may not have done it before are finding ways to intimidate other people.  It’s  also sad to say the tragedies that we are talking about and that brought loss of lives are, on some level, inspiring people who may say “Well, I may never get someone to commit suicide but I’d love to get my old boss by putting up some lies in the internet” or something like that.

 

Visit nobullying.com to hear more about bullying and how to combat it and to hear my full interview with the organization (http://nobullying.com/peter-turco-on-cyber-bullying/.  For more information about the services I provide, please contact me directly or read about my Specialties and Modes of Therapy.

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