We attribute certain socially unacceptable behavior to children – tantrums, lies, bold use of foul language, and bullying. Most are outgrown when the child realizes these behaviors get attention, but not necessarily positive responses.
A friend is the target of cyber bullying on her company Facebook page. The bully has made threats against her and included me by name in the tirades. She can delete the posts and block the bully. The police say it is harassment and not worthy of their time. The clues are clear; every time a post appears there is a “finger print” an IP address that leads directly to the computer used. The posts come late at night, proving the bully is not hiding behind a public computer in a library.
We know who this person is. It is also common knowledge that the bully has been declared “incompetent” by the state after years spent in and out of prison and mental institutions. This bully is not obviously dangerous; they have learned to skate on the edge of the law and never be permanently deployed to the hell of an asylum. In fact, this person is very intelligent; and was once an upstanding citizen in some circles. A wire snapped or maybe was never fully fused and socially unacceptable behavior cost them their family, friends, home and life. I try to think which would be a worse penitentiary – inside their head or the physical, four walls of prison.
It was the subject of cyber bullying that I was most taken with as this unfolded. The ability to create fear and unease, or downright terror, in someone’s life without ever having to face the target, dancing on the edges of the mind. How bizarre and impossible 20 years ago? More than a simple social commentary, it makes me wonder if it might be time to think about “getting off the grid.” The technologist in me (when did that happen???) reasons it is simply time to improving the systems, tightening the security should remove the threat. The spiritualist in me (Has that happened yet???) asks how to find harmony with what has been released from Pandora’s box. The Christian-side of me calls out for empathy and pity.
I close my curtains, throw another log on the fire in my home, count my blessings and try to feel sorry for this miserable soul who wants only to taunt and generate fear to salve their own pain of total loss. Bullies only have “friends” for as long as those people are afraid of their wrath. Then they move on to become targets for their betrayal…
Most of the research on cyber-bullying relates to the trend in children and teens. It is also rather weighted with the behavior among young women. That is scary in itself as I always think of females as the less combative of the sexes. Suicides resulting in cyber bullying are high-profile, thankfully, and laws have passed to protect our youth. Yet this “childish” behavior does occur in the world of so-called adult society.
I went to the cyber world to query. First I googled cyber bullying. Too broad a topic which returned most of the aforementioned results. Then I narrowed to Cyber Bullying on Facebook. That wasn’t any better. In desperation/ultimate wisdom, I googled cyber bullying of a business on Facebook. Bingo! My search needed to be more precisely targeted. Maybe ‘target” isn’t a good turn of phrase here. Unfortunately the key article came from a software company who sells a product to “tighten security.” OK, back to the technologists.
If this sounds like a rant going ’round and ’round, perhaps it is all part of the childish behavior…