Difference between Bully and Cyber-Bully

With all the news on Cyber Bullying over the last four years, people are asking what can be done to curb the bullying. Is it the technology arena that needs to be fixed or is it the user that needs educating?
It’s a bit of both actually. To comprehend the meaning of cyber bullying, we really need to understand the traditional bully. Oxford Dictionary states a bully is a person who uses strength or influence to harm or intimidate those who are weaker. Bullying was first reported back in the late 19th century when a soldier John Flood had enough of being bullied and took revenge with a gun and shot him dead. People who bully may actually be victims themselves and they vent this torment to others to alleviate the emotional pain. I have read many cases and spoke with people who work with victims and bullies who would see a similar trend between this relationships. People often think of bullies as ogars!! They maybe the nicest of people you have ever met and maybe have a different persona when working or studying beside a slightly weaker personality. As mentioned, bullying traditionally is not new, but some of the methods or vehicles used have changed. One such method is online bullying.
The Oxford dictionary define this term as “the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature:”
Electronic communications come in many forms; from email, text, chat, video, voice and more. Basically if there is a device being used to pass information, it’s termed under cyber bullying. 21% of Irish children are bullied by this method. To think of every 5 children you see in front of you, maybe 1 of them are getting tormented digitally. This is a large number and it makes you think why so many being bullied are. When parents were asked only 1 in 10 would admit they know of their children being bullied online. Lack of knowledge of what their children are doing online accounts for some of this, but unfortunately, the ultimate reason is that the children have not communicated this to their parents for many reasons.
After attending an Anti-bullying conference that was hosted by Dominic Bonner of Goal4Youth, he explained that the current rate of bullying is 43% and this time 10 years ago that number was also 43% and guess what it was 15 years ago? Yes, the same number, 43%! What does this indicate? It clearly shows that it has not changed. Many factors would contribute to this and Dominic delivers a program for teenagers that help them built self-confidence, self-esteem and develop different mind sets. The success of this program was seen at the same conference I attended when one 16 year old male spoke of how his life was dreadful and had no passion for life. Now after a few months help with Dominic and his team, he has now gone to stand in front of hall packed rooms to tell his story, started a career as a DJ which he has loved, but never had the confidence to carry out before.
Do we shut down Google, Facebook, YouTube or many other platforms online to curb Cyber-Bullying, or can we maybe educate people on how to be more careful and “Think before you post”? I illustrated how bullying is more prevalent offline, only the Internet can speed this process up and expand to a further out reach.
To conclude, I spoke with Mona O’Moore, Ph.D., F.T.C.D from Anti-Bullying Research & Resource Centre in Trinity College and Brendan Byrne teacher, guidance counsellor, researcher and author, Dublin would both confirm that bullying is perpetrated differently online but the same effects are delivered to the victim.
More resources and links can be found at www.PcClean.ie and CyberSafetyAdvice.com

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