There is no such thing as cyber bullying. There’s just bullying

Three in five women in their late teens have been victims of online bullies, according to new research revealing an alarming number of Kiwi adults encountering the problem.

While new measures have been brought in to tackle the problem in schools, a snapshot of voting-aged New Zealanders found one in 10 people aged 30 to 59 — and a rate twice that for those in their mid- to late 20s — have experienced it.

A new survey asked around 15,000 people if someone had used the internet, a mobile phone or digital camera to hurt or embarrass them.

Rates were highest among young people — 46 per cent of all 18- to 19-year-olds, with the problem worse among females in that age group.”Women aged 18 to 19 reported the highest levels of cyber-bullying among all groups, with roughly three in five experiencing cyber-bullying,” said Harrison Steiner-Fox, who compiled the research using data from the ongoing New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (NZAVS).

It was in step with previous research that has indicated one in three children are affected by it.

Another recent survey of nearly 750 young people aged 11 to 18, by Otago-based group Sticks’n’Stones, found 87 per cent thought cyber-bullying was an issue — and 255 had experienced it the same year.

But the NZAVS figures revealed older New Zealanders weren’t immune: 27 per cent of those aged 20 to 24 had been bullied, with 22 per cent of 25- to 29-year-olds and 9 to 13 per cent of 30- to 59-year-olds.

“It’s definitely not just a young person’s problem,” NetSafe chief executive Martin Cocker said.

Of the 1000 related cases that his organisation handled last year, around half of those involved adults.

First it was phone calls.  Then it was TXT messages.  And now it’s “Cyber” (really?).

The only thing that hasn’t changed is that the world is full of arseholes.  What has changed is that technology has given the arseholes a bigger reach, larger audiences and frequently near-anonymity.

Personally, I believe you can’t stamp out bullying.

What you can do however, is learn how to tune it out, mute it, turn it off or otherwise separate yourself from it.  This starts by not having your life open to the world.  Secondly, never respond.  Third, filter things out.  And last, if that’s still not enough, shut down the accounts or just abandon them.

I’m in a unique position to know that there are more of them than there are of you.   Anyone in the public eye knows what it is like to receive unsolicited feedback that is vile, intimidating or even illegal.

The truth is that for every head you lob off, two more appear.  There is no point in going into battle with them.  Just put in the virtual blinkers, the ear muffs and walls and choose who you want to share your attention with.

 

– Jamie Morton, NZ Herald


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