What Is A Hidden Cyber Bully?
What is a hidden cyber bully?
What is a hidden cyber bully? We like to think that the internet is mostly used for social gathering, networking, making friends, searching for news or conducting other normal activities. We like to think that more emotionally mature people use the internet than not. We like to think that we are safe while browsing the internet, because we do so in our own homes and we are simply sitting in a chair, using a keyboard and looking at a monitor screen.
What we don't know is that the internet, like the world, is a very dangerous place. Just as there are unscrupulous people lurking about in our communities, they are at large over the internet as well. Most of the time, people thrive peacefully with each other over the internet. They engage in normal discussions or chat with their online friends. But there are people who hide behind fictitious internet user names and they are also cyber bullies who hide behind their true identity. Why do they do this? Because spreading hatred over the internet is easy to do. There's very little stress involved for the hidden cyberbully. The hatred they spread with their typed words may as well seem as easy to do as sipping a cup of coffee. Hidden cyberbullies pretend to be multiple people, so that you never really know who is behind what you are reading over the internet. Hidden cyberbullies are responsible for posting very malicious content over the internet under a myriad of user names simply for the pleasure of causing stress for their intended victim/s.
Bullying over the internet, whether done through a hidden identity or through a real personal name, is an act of aggression. While there is an acceptable form of aggression in our society, personally attacking others over the internet is not an acceptable form of aggression. Hidden cyberbullies use their personal attacks towards their intended victim/s as a means of control or to achieve dominance over them. Believe it or not, hidden cyberbullies are a small group of numbers compared to the millions of internet users around the world.
Are hidden cyberbullies popular over the internet? Studies have shown that there are some popular aggressive hidden cyberbullies that lurk about on the internet. Studies have shown that when popular hidden cyberbullies are boys or men, the bully is popular and the victim is not. Other studies have shown that when the hidden cyberbullies are girls or women, the bully is not popular and the victim is. Generally, the hidden cyberbully is the ringleader. Many cyberbullies are often hidden in plain sight! You might even be having dinner with one right now. The reality of hidden cyberbullies becomes even more problmematic over the internet, when website owners or forum moderators do not properly monitor the content posted. It would be impossible for the victim or victims to spend their entire day and night following the blazing trail of a hidden cyber bully.
Knowledge and alteration of social networks over the internet, is a leverage point for effective intervention in cyber bullying. Taking a stand against cyberbullying is the only way to help put an end to it. One goal could be to try and understand the socialization and development of aggressive behavior. Cyber bullying has grown meaner and bigger through photos and videos. Aggressive people turn their aggression to higher new levels of spreading hatred under fictitious user names. Creating fake profiles, hidden cyberbullies lurk in every corner of the internet. Insults fling in the heat of anger is always intended by the hidden cyberbully to inflict some sort of pain toward their intended victim/s. But words - and pictures - posted on the Internet, where they can be seen by anyone and every one, have taken bullying to a whole new level.
As more and more people get their hands on cellphone, digital cameras as well as other savvy electronic devices and nearly ubiquitous high-speed Internet connections, cyberbullying is ramping up and taking new forms. Using public IP addresses makes it even harder to track down these cyber criminals because their IP addresses simply change each and every time they log into their computer.
No longer are threats, taunts and insults relegated to the written word in chat rooms and instant messages. Now teens, children and even adults are adding pictures and videos to their bullying arsenal and posting them on sites such as MySpace, Facebook and YouTube, where anyone can see them. Software such as photoshop is included in the ever growing arsenal of the hidden cyberbully. Taunting their intended victims through maliciously created photo images and making horrific slurs with the intent to cause public injury, the hidden cyberbully feels empowered through this form of aggression.
Bullying has led to real consequences; from fights to suicides, or what some label "bullycides." Some states are now beginning to take action with tougher new laws targeting those who use electronic means to bully. But the problem is still getting the police to intervene even though there are laws put into place by the individual states. Cyberbullies would not say to their victim's face, what they write on the internet. Cyber stalkers rarely physically stalk their intended victim. Their hidden status is to instill fear and cause the person they are bullying, emotional duress. Compounding the frustration, some victims do not report the hidden bully. This is an emerging public-health problem that definitely needs some serious attention. "Girlfight" videos have become so ubiquitous that the search term "girlfight" brings up thousands of videos on YouTube.
"You're bullied twice, " says Nancy Willard, author of Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens and Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats. " You're bullied in the real world with a physical attack, and then you're bullied online with humiliation. It's very hurtful. Very, very hurtful." Cyberbullying can be even more destructive than face-to-face bullying "because you get a sense that the whole world is being exposed to what is being said to you."
Why does the hidden cyberbully get away with their abusive behaviour? The answer is quite simple, really. More awareness needs to come about with regards to cyberbullying and cyber stalking. Many website owners just want to pass the buck by claiming they are all about representing the "freedom of speech". Unless there is an actual contact link or telephone number to speak to someone directly regarding hateful, malicious content posted by a hidden cyberbully, it is nearly impossible to get the content removed. Even when there is a contact link or phone number, your only resource is to continue to pesty the website owner until they either ban the hidden cyberbully or pull down the malicious content. There is a real need for more anti-bullying programs to bring further awareness to the general internet public about this ever increasing problem. For those who make the statement that "bullying is just a part of every day life", you might as well be saying that "rape is a part of marriage". It's absurd at the notion that this form of abusive behaviour is acceptable. It isn't.
Many who have grown up with the victims of hidden cyberbullies, agrees with the sentiment. "It's not that bullying is any worse today, " says Nancy Willard. "The impulse for cruelty is the same impulse. The only difference is that the tools to achieve that have become more sophisticated."
But all the attention over cyberbullying is a double-edged sword. In one respect, America is finally waking up. And yes, it's due in large part to the Internet. The flipside of that is it's also motivating a lot of people to be meaner to each other. Because in the mind of the hidden cyberbully, it is such a cool tool to show off how mean they can be.
**Author: Dee Gerrish, @2009.**
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Dee Gerrish has been a private, professional breeder for 12 years as of Jan. 2008; She was a respite and foster care provider in Mannheim, Germany and won many community awards for her dedicated service. Dee has written very popular articles that are listed across the internet.
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