While I will be the first to say I use Facebook on a regular basis, check into LinkedIn.com, and send a periodical message via Twitter, I can also say I have been the victim of cyber bullying. Because we as adults watch the way our children interact on social media and we are the ones who try to lead through example, we need to remember our children watch the way we communicate online.
Paul Martin, in his blog, claims that as some users post their comments on Facebook and other online sites, they attempt to make themselves look bigger than they are. According to Paul, one of the studies he looked at asserts that these people use the social media forums to display a higher level of narcissism and exhibitionism, and they use available online sources to promote themselves, resorting to superficial behavior in their journey to defame someone else.
Adult bullies will not hesitate to name-call online and write posts that are deliberately drafted to make others look bad. It is ironic that these adults fail to see what they themselves are doing: participating in an action that they loathe in some of our younger people – cyber bullying.
After reading the post that had been written about me, I felt a sense of hopelessness. The first thought was, everyone I know will see this. They’ll think the worst of me. And then I remembered the young people who had read horrific postings about themselves and had felt there was no way out, only the taking of their own lives. The one thing that adult and young bullies have in common is the fact that they would never make the same statements to their victims’ faces, and anyone who has been bullied needs to remember that.
Rosen and Rosenberg claim that adult bullies know they are harming the one(s) they are defaming. The intention of the adult bully is clear, and for this reason the action against the adult bully should be harsher than it would be against the younger bully.
People habitually use the excuse that the First Amendment grants us the right to say whatever we want. What we should remember, though, is that we have this right as long as we do not tread on the rights of others though our harsh words.
Paul. (2011, April4). Paul Martin’s Blog. http://paulmmartinblog.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/anti-social-media/
Rosen, R. & Rosenberg, C.B. (2001, October). Suing Anonymous Defendants for Internet Defamation. http://www.lacba.org/