Bullying takes many forms and has existed from the dawn of humanity itself, whether it be name calling, annoyance or more severe forms such as threats. Until the Internet appeared, the main limit for bullying was that the bully was normally in contact with the person being bullied. Also, the people who knew what has happening were there as witnesses. The bully bullied, the victim received and the crowd looked on. The Internet has allowed this to flourish on a massive and expanding scale.
The bully could say to his victim that they are ugly for example, an opinion they shared one to one. Now there is the chance to repeat the quote on-line for millions to read, and for those people to join in with their comments of agreement or otherwise. Also there can be further information shared such as pictures, video and even more personal details. The phenomena of happy slapping videos flourished through web sites that either allowed them to be posted or were slow to remove them after. This was originally a basic bullying form but it became more serious as people competed for more extreme content.
Happy slapping for the uninitiated is where someone is videoed slapping another person, the video is then shared via mobile phones and ultimately the Internet. The cases where the violence has escalated is enormous, serious attacks and even deaths have been attributed to this phenomena. The Internet allows thousands to see an incident within seconds of it happening, many mobile phones have applications allowing immediate upload to various file sharing websites. The only way to control this problem is for websites to monitor their content more closely and to react quickly to complaints.
The Internet also can be used to keep the traditional one to one abuse going. Sites like Facebook allow one to one contact with other members very easily. While you can choose who contacts you there are ways to get round this such as hacking accounts and setting up fake ones that the victim might accept. The websites have begun to offer ways to block people and to improve safety for users but the user has to have a fair knowledge of the system to use the protection properly. This is one of the reasons that the idea mooted by Facebook’s creator to allow younger users on Facebook is so strange.
The Internet of course allows bullying for all ages and all races and creeds. You can post anything you like under any name and there’s a good chance someone will read it. Some places check content before its allowed to be published while many more have few if any restrictions at all. In fact if someone has trouble getting their point across they can simply start their own site with their own set of rules.They can write pretty much anything and claim it as fact, no matter what laws are broken or who is offended. The web is supposed to be about free speech but some go far too far with this. Be very aware of people in your house, not only children. They can be bullied, threatened and blackmailed without having to go out. People have committed suicide over cyber bullying. Make sure it’s not in your house.