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Do you think more can be done amongst the youth and young people to combat cyber bullying?

We have already touched on ideas we can stop cyber bullying.

It is seen to be rampant amongst the young, but it also affects young adults (workplace bullying). Misuse of the Internet, especially when the use of the internet and social media is almost ubiquitous in today's wired generation is also becoming increasingly common.

We have all seen various cases of cyber bullying leading to suicide e.g Amanda Todd, Hannah Smith
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/hannah-smiths-sister-jo-targeted-2133317

I feel that one of the main causes of bullying is apathy amongst the crowds; we are too afraid to intervene in a bullying case for fear of being targeted ourselves.
It has also become common to set up memorial pages on Facebook after a person has died to spread awareness. However, these pages are often also targeted by other bullies and defaced. While we can spread awareness through Facebook 'likes', it often does not do anything to solve the issue.

Just a shout out, what do you all think can be done to create awareness / mitigate the problem? Government policies, school administration, amongst the youth.. etc.
Examples of things done to combat cyberbullying in your own communities / countries would be helpful too!

cheers :)

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    Sep 4 2013: To prevent bullying, we have to work on the psyche of bullies.
    I think bullies can be divided into two categories; those who have an inferiority complex and those who have a superiority complex. Both are caused by their families and their peers. So, to me, we have to work on the kids' education, whether that might be at school or inside the family, because by educating them properly, we can make them understand that they aren't supposed to be bullying other people.
  • Sep 3 2013: The foundation is the most hardly noticable feature of a building. No one looks at Canada's CN Towers or the Empire state building or even any building, and says "Oh! Wow! It's got a great foundation!"
    But a grand house wont be grand for long if it is on a shoddy foundation.
    If children are not brought up in homes where they are loved and cherished and where they see examples of mutual respect; they will definately grow to a terrible lot.

    A wise man once said "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." It is so simple; that is why it is too easy to miss.
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      Sep 3 2013: Hi Feyisayo!
      It is simple, and I Love simplicity! I wrote in another comment...."Bullies AND victims of bullying are insecure. The bully cannot generally intimidate a more secure person, and a more secure person has no reason or desire to intimidate anyone."

      When kids have a good, loving, respectful foundation, there is no need for bullying. Although it is a simple concept, we are trying to change a long existing paradigm....don't you think?

      Throughout history, masses of people have been treated poorly, bullied, and it has been accepted. People have been "owned" by other people. Slaves and wives were considered "property". We have the practice of "hazing", which was accepted. It was nothing more than mistreatment and torture under the guise of being accepted within a group. We have heard over and over again.....boys will be boys.....and it was accepted. Cyber bullying is another chapter of the same old story!

      I totally agree with you that providing a good foundation is important, and a simple concept. To change the paradigm, however, does not seem to be so simple, because the idea of domination still seems to be accepted by some people.
      • Sep 3 2013: I agree with you. You've actually given me more insight on this. Thanks very much Colleen. I appreciate this.
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          Sep 3 2013: Hi Feyisayo:>)
          I am curious....can you share what "insight" is new to you?
      • Sep 3 2013: Colleen, the idea of domination is accepted by some people; and it seems easy for some people to see leadership (not neccessarily positional leadership) as a means of domination.

        In our society there is need for authority figures; but the human weakness of ending up being power drunk is an inevitable risk. That is the insight. :)
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          Sep 3 2013: I agree Feyisayo. The idea of domination as good leadership goes way back in history. Bullying people into submission goes way back in history. I am reading "Understanding Iran" (William R. Polk) right now, which takes us back over 2000 years in the history of the middle east, so it is in the forefront of my mind right now.

          You point out that a good foundation within the family is important, which I totally agree with. We also have a global leadership foundation which is an underlying factor regarding the acceptance of bullying.

          I agree that societies need authority figures....good leaders...and as you say....the weakness of being "power drunk" is always a possibility.

          "Power drunk" is an interesting way to describe someone who simply wants power regardless of how it might impact other people, and it seems like a good term for a bully as well.

          When the need for power and control overrides and adversely impacts other people, it is a weakness in the person who behaves that way, not a strength, which I think you are saying?

          I think Ray Butler also mentioned this in comments. When people realize that bullying behaviors are demonstrating weakness and insecurity, rather than genuine strength, confidence and security, perhaps there might be a change regarding bullying behaviors?
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        Sep 3 2013: I have noticed bullies often do not recognize themselves as bullies. They may or may not believe that bullying demonstrates weakness and insecurity, and I know I have read research saying that this is actually a myth.

        Whether fact or fiction, though, if a bully thinks he is, in fact, the civil one and that others are harassing him, what he considers the psychological profile of a bully makes little difference.
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          Sep 3 2013: This is true Fritzie. That is why, I said in another comment on this thread..." I learned that the tough guy bullying behaviors were usually learned as a protective mechanism". I agree with you that they probably do not recognize it as insecurity.

          It was not unusual, for the guys incarcerated for domestic assault to say it was "her" fault....she made him angry and he was just taking care of himself.....or something like that.

          I totally agree....if a person does not recognize bullying behaviors, the psychological profile makes little difference. That's what the "cognitive self change" sessions I co-facilitated were all about....getting to know themselves and their own behaviors. Many times, bullying behavior is a knee jerk reaction. The guys were not thinking about what they were doing and what the ramifications might be.
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        Sep 3 2013: I think the cyber version of bullying may be less recognized as such by the perpetrators than the behaviors of the young incarcerated men.
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          Sep 3 2013: Probably so. The communication device serves to separate people even more? Also, with the "virtual reality" shows and video games, do you think that some kids may, at times, be losing touch with the ramifications of reality?
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        Sep 3 2013: I don't have any experience with reality shows or video games and neither have my kids, so I cannot judge this.

        I was thinking more that people who would never punch someone in the face might not think of online harassment as bullying.
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          Sep 3 2013: I don't have experience with reality shows or video games either Fritzie. I've just heard and read about them. There is a strong feeling by some, that they contribute to cyber bullying, and there are a lot of people who say it's all fantasy and the kids know that. I tend to believe that it is influencing the amount of cyber bullying we are seeing. A lot of video games are pretty violent and graphic, and if kids are playing these games often, it seems logical that it might influence them.

          I think there are some people who believe online harassment is not bullying. It's just having a little fun, gaming with someone. One problem is that we don't know what another person might be facing in his/her life experience. What appears to be a joke to one person, may be devastating to another person. And that is true of real life scenarios.....not just on line.
      • Sep 7 2013: HI Dear Colleen,that is exactly right.how brutal the war keeps on around the world.Have a look about those children in war countries.what security they have?how can assure them to be a secure man when they grow up?when think of that,totally mightmare...
  • Aug 30 2013: Hello, Joshua:) As technology gets enormous power in our society, cyber bullying places one of the dark sides of the world. I think cyber bullying occurs more frequently than in reality. Because most people do not have to feel sense of guilt in that they do not face others in front of their eyes. And we lose our control sometimes and act impulsively. Education might play a huge role. Adults and school, education system should convince their children and students of the importance of respecting others.
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      Aug 31 2013: Hello again Sophia:>)
      I agree that cyber bullying may be easier for some bullying practices, because the bully does not actually see the victim.

      Some of the videos of a gang physically beating a person for example, are horrible, and I wonder if the people distributing the "scene" with their communication devices are actually "seeing" what is happening? I'm wondering if the device/communication tool serves to separate people from other people in some respects?

      I agree Sophia, that education and respect of each other is a start!
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    Aug 22 2013: I don't understand why bullying is something of a new concept. Cyber, school, or the workplace this is nothing new. Why do I say this? Well be honest can you cure sickness. NO, that's to broad. Can you cure a specific sickness? Maybe, depends on the sickness. So when we use bullying as the main point of the problem we say a general statement for something that is much larger. What is the root for people to want to feel better or powerful than others and take satisfaction for this? Is this a human behavior? Can this be nested in our DNA, genetic makeup, or is this an primal trait that all species have. What I m getting at is that, this has been going on since we as humans recorded history.

    Bullying is complicated. Think about all the reasons why a kid or adult would bully. There are tons of issues psychological that are composed of this issue. I think that this is a continuing process that most will face in life. Because not everyone wants or knows moral consideration nor want to know. They can be fine without ever knowing this. So much like sickness, you must be prepared for people like this, mentally. Not everyone can do this and if everyone could we would never have this problem in our human society. So, preparing a mind for this "Sickness" is a solution. Now the next question is how do you prepare oneself to combat being bullied.
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      Sep 3 2013: I totally agree with your point of view James. Today we have more bullying because the technology enables us to be in contact with more people; to me the issue is adjusting and adapting to the new world we live in. We are connected with so many more people... Parents and educators need to teach how the technology works how to set your privacy limits to protect yourself and what are possible consequences if you don't. Common sense good behavior also helps; if you do the right things and get involved with the right people you lower your risks... (I'm referring to situations where kids did things that came back to embarrass them greatly once they were made public by bully s) I agree that bullying is complicated, it's part of the complicated social dynamic and it can happen for many reasons; we need to teach our kids how the world and human relations really go to prepare them of becoming victims without any of their wrong doing. Life can be complicated and teaching your kid how human motivation goes in real life using every possible life example could help.
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    Aug 7 2013: We have had many discussions of this here. I would add only that I am not convinced that cyberbullying is more common among youth than in the population at large. Cyberbullying may do more damage when the target is a young person.
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    Sep 4 2013: I completely agree with you, Colleen. Theories (psychological, educational, and others) are just theories. All of them bring us new and useful views. But in the real life, things are, in my opinon, just like you describe them.
    But saying that, every ideas or proposals are welcome in fighting against the horrible crime (yes, crime) of bullying, somtehing harmful, injust, and rejectable.
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      Sep 4 2013: I agree Sean that the theories, ideas, and proposals are all helpful, and it is important to apply that information to the challenge if we hope to create change. I believe we have information regarding some of the causes of bullying. Now we need to apply that information, and put it in practice in our everyday lives.
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        Sep 5 2013: Totally agree, Colleen. Thank you very much for your precisions. And in addition, I must say that we citizens must necessarily do our best for fighting agaist bullying. I have known kids victims of bullying and I can assure whoever could doubt about it that bullying marks and affects deeply their vulnerable lives forever.
        And we, citizens must abndon the idea (some tolerant people thinks so about it..) that these are only kids' games or jokes. Absolutely not.
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          Sep 5 2013: I also know people whose lives have been adversely altered because of bullying as a child Sean, and sometimes, no matter how much encouragement and emotional support they get throughout their lives, they feel less valuable, lack self esteem and confidence. As you say....it sometimes marks their lives forever. It is sad that we have so many wounded people in our world when it does not have to be that way.
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    Aug 31 2013: In school, we were taught to always take up for the underdog. I think it applies in the cyberworld. cyberbullying cuts right through the very fabric of our society and doesn't appear to pay heed to social status or academic excellence. In fact, the more knowledgeable people become, they appear to indulge in it more often. Just as people feel more equal to others while driving a car, they feel the same way in cyberspace, much as they do on a telephone.

    It's only when we are face to face that we feel awkward about being angrily pointed with our demands or questions. And, then only if we somehow feel we are superior to them in some way or have the advantage. The old time method of fisticuffs is rapidly loosing it's appearance in our modern society. It's much easier to find oneself in jail, even if your cause is right. Today's society demands less violent methods of dealing with those who could care less about other peoples feelings.

    How we are planning to deal with a whole nation, like Syria, is an example of how the US wants to scale down violence in the world. Here we have a big, national bully, killing it's own citizens with outlawed weapons (as if any weapon should be legal). How do we handle this situation?

    It appears that pausing and thinking about it offers some reward towards reducing violence as opposed to hitting them right in the chops with a cruise missile or two. It doesn't, however, give justice to those who were killed.

    I think a good set of moderation rules -consistently applied- as they are here in TED, would go far towards controlling people and their bullying behaviors in Cyber Space. We need to set the bar high when it comes to Cyber communication. Perhaps we need some legal guidelines, like those associated with hate speech. And, on the other side, we need to be more accepting of apologies.
  • Aug 30 2013: Do you think more can be done amongst the youth and young people to combat cyber bullying?

    Well let me put it this way if 40,000 children were dying each day from cyber bullying - you can bet something would be done.


    That there are 40,000 children dying every day, effectively being bullied, in terms of not getting an education nor heath care and forced into labour so they can make iphones, nikes, and what all else, seems not to matter.

    A cyber bullied child in the first world in the media's eyes (inc ted) is a poor innocent victim who should garner our sympathy, where as a 3rd world child is disposable and gets no attention.


    So I'll take the position, that if you don't want to be cyber bullied - get off line. Problem solved and no big deal. At least you have a choice.
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      Sep 1 2013: I think you have a PERFECTLY valid point, here. However, that being said...

      There are pages, discussions, and communities- online and in the real world, concerning other "more important" issues- starvation and economic warfare/slavery, etc. These are very dire concerns for our world and are practically infinitely complicated issues involving every possible aspect of human life and organization. And certainly, much more can be done, and needs to be done quite urgently. If these are your concerns in this moment, then direct your energies that way, rather than jumping on this thread to denounce this issue as unimportant in comparison. There are plenty of examples of superficial "do-gooders" effectively wasting their time and efforts on relatively meaningless causes that could use this type of reminding of what's actually important, but, I do NOT think that this is one of them. And I also think that our time is best spent focused on the issues, rather than focused on those who aren't focused on the issues...
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      Sep 1 2013: At the end of the day, the true solution to "Cyber-bullying" happens to be the answer to the question "How do we create a healthier, happier, and more enlightened population?" It seems to me that the answer to this question involves most of the same answers to other "more important" issues, including the ones that you have outlined. This is all part of the same human project, I assure you...
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        Sep 1 2013: Excellent point Galen! I perceive everyone and everything to be interconnected, and if we can focus on creating healthier, happier, more content societies, there will naturally be less bullying. People who feel secure, are generally not impacted by bullying behaviors, nor do they have reason or desire to bully others.

        "All part of the same human project...". What we focus on expands:>)
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      Sep 1 2013: This issue is not really one of "cyber-bullying". Or, perhaps I should say, that any genuine solution to cyber-bullying isn't just a solution to that, but MUST be a general improvement in our culture's practices of raising children, education, and our forms of human organization, in general.

      "Cyber-bullying" is not a new issue, but an expression of some old issues in a brand new environment that happens to greatly exacerbate this symptom of bullying. The fact that social networking has brought about this cyber-bullying phenomena says nothing about the internet and social networking, but says everything about our culture, our psychologies as a society, and our current tendencies of modern human organization and education. The superficial issue of bullying is merely a magnifying lens held to the flaws of our culture, I believe.

      And so, a genuine solution to this issue must involve discovering how to better cultivate healthy minds and psychologies. We must learn more how we can set up schooling systems (or dismantle them) appropriately to optimize the nurturing of psychological and emotional health along with the other aspects of education like intellect and creativity. We must learn how to transform present systems of education into systems that genuinely and actively inculcate into our children the full range of human health- including emotional awareness, introspection, compassion, and collaborative skills- rather than simply over-stimulating the competitive drive which results in the far too common zero-sum understanding of self-esteem. We must also effectively instill in our children the ability to teach these values and understandings to each other and, in turn, to their children.

      This is an overwhelmingly complex matter of social science with no certain answers, but an endless set of possible solutions that need trial and error and an ongoing relationship with theory, experiment, and trial implementation. This discussion should never end.
  • Aug 30 2013: Having personal experience being bullied in school for several years straight. I learned what it was like to face my aggressors. (When I was growing up in the 90s the internet was not as prevalent and myspace wasn't around until highschool for me.) Personally, whenever I hear someone complain about being bullied online, my first question is, "Did you block them?", if they tell me no, I recommend that. If they tell me blocking didn't work, then I tell them to report the harassment to the site they're at. If it is obvious, or malicious, the person will be given a warning and asked to stop. There are ways to track people online, for example through their IP address. Unfortunately in the united states, cyber bullying does not become a police involved problem until physical or life-altering events take place. Whenever I had a problem with someone on the internet through something like, say, IRC, I could simply ignore them. I didn't have to endure their bullying, and if I did, it was because I chose not to block their comments. I was also encouraged through the trite saying not to let anyone "push my buttons". It became easier over time. Not many people seem to consider why the bully does what they do, and to me it is the sadder part of this story. What negligence, pain, or boredom had brought them to the point to harass another? I cannot answer it 100%, but I'd have to guess their environment, parents, and or upbringing would play a big chunk. If this type of behavior isn't punished by their own parents, then in my opinion the parents are letting their own child go, left to discover that his/her actions won't get them very far in the real world. Also that others will have to be the ones to deal with it. So really, all you can do to combat cyber bullying is to ignore it. The last thing we need to do is punish these kids, but rather a dose of reality and some tough love. Block them, move on, and report any additional harassment.
    • Aug 31 2013: There are plenty of risks in life: You live in a house, and you have no front gates, no doors and no locks, and you're inviting criminals to steal from you. You go into the web to use these social media (or even just e-mail) WITHOUT any filters or blocks, then you're just inviting cyber bullies.

      These would not have been an issue, if these so-called "victims" have started using these filters and blocks from the very beginning, before they started using these social media or e-mails. It's not a problem, it's as easy as that.
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    Aug 29 2013: Yes. I just don't know how.
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      Aug 31 2013: Dear Bernard,
      Awareness is the first step toward changing anything, and my perception of you, is that you are an insightful, very aware person. I have confidence that if you don't know something you wish to know more about, you will explore, learn, and grow with the challenge:>)
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        Aug 31 2013: Thank you for your kind words.
        My Intuition was to install some surveillance system (a bit like a government on Facebook which enforces rules). The you could try and tackle the social element (like the conformity and appeal to status). However I don't have much evidence to back up these claims...
        So, I just don't know!
        Kind regards,
        Bernard
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          Sep 1 2013: You are always thinking Bernard....AND.....you are very aware. It's ok if we don't have the answer right now my friend.....we will be aware.
          Kind regards:>)
          Colleen
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    Aug 27 2013: The big thing I'd be looking at is the fact we have a major insecurity culture going around, probably always have. I think people should not be seeing their weakness and limitations as a failure but as a challenge. I have a saying that creativity is 99% failure and 1% truth, you have to be willing to fully embrace failure otherwise you will give up on that 1% of immortality that is waiting for you.

    Too many people have this overwhelming fear of failure, they don't want to look the fool and they have this terrible inner critic, a conditioned guilt, that all combined becomes such a painful thing, so they spend their lives avoiding any potential failure, they end up being mediocre, the biggest failure of all. The greatest people have failed 1000x more than the average person, but no one remembers them for any of that.

    Why do bullies hurt us? Because we are insecure about ourselves, we are instilled with this cultural conditioning for "being accepted" and not failing, "You have to Win" no prizes for second, this competition culture makes us confrontational and stubborn but it also stifles our creativity and our pursuit for understanding.

    I mean it's one thing to always seek to grow as a person and in understanding, to do our best where we can and all that, but is there also the risk of interpreting that as "You are not good enough, be someone better" that we are seeing ourselves as not good enough?
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        Aug 27 2013: I don't expect them to respond the same, the questions not really what kids can do to combat bullying and cyber-bullying, it was asking what we can do, and I presume it means "mature adults" I'm just saying we can take a look at the prevailing culture our kids are living in, can we really change that or is it something beyond our power?

        I think for a start, the child culture is predominantly influenced by the adult culture, yet a lot of the prevailing adult culture revolves around competition and money making, which is understandable, but should that be prioritised as vital over free thinking and personal growth? Maybe it should, I'm not credible enough to answer that question, but I can raise it.
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          Aug 27 2013: I agree Ray, that the child culture is predominantly influenced by the adult culture. I also believe that bullying is a learned behavior, so if adults change, there may be hope for the children.

          I learned quite a bit about bullying, first with my father, who was an abusive, violent bully, then as a volunteer with the dept. of corrections for 6 years. As a co-facilitator of several programs, I had access to the files of those incarcerated. Unfortunately, many of them were bullied, abused and often sexually assaulted. Knowing that, does not in any way justify their behavior. With that information, however, I can better understand the behavior.
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        Aug 29 2013: Yes, I believe every freedom comes with responsibility, why should free speech be any different? Targeting children or exploiting the weakness or ignorance of people is an abuse of that trust, so we are within our rights to take measures against these exploits.

        I have a view; We either control everything and add freedoms where it is merited or we free everything and add controls where it is merited. People would not like the way I over simplify things but it is two potential approaches we can make in the world. The problem with the freedom approach is that people scream murder wherever you feel a control is warranted, just as with the control approach people inevitably scream murder wherever you grant a freedom :p

        Reminds me of Edmund Burke: "Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without."
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          Aug 29 2013: I agree Ray....again!!! I love simplicity:>)

          Freedom does indeed come with responsibility, and those who rather not accept the responsibility can be "encouraged" with the laws we have in place regarding exploiting children.

          It seems like the only people who might be unhappy with these laws, are those who wish to exploit and take advantage of children. That seems pretty simple to understand as well!
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        Aug 29 2013: I figure there will be things that we have to use our good sense with, be responsible. I don't want a society that bans responsible people from an activity because some people abuse the activity, that is a case of punishing the world for a few rotten apples. I like the old way: you have freedom until you abuse it, people need to face consequences for irresponsible behaviour and not cop out under rights. Hard to do in the largely anonymous system.

        I'd say: There are mechanisms where you can verify your identity, then there are sites where you can remain completely anonymous, there are many (or most) that have both. Maybe it is just a case of separating the verified from the anonymous somehow. I'm not a computer tech but I am sure it is a possibility.

        But I agree, at some point parents will still have to take responsibility and monitor their children's online activity, that is what "parental lockouts" are for, protecting your children shouldn't be a taboo, that you are an overbearing control freak, it is about love.
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        Sep 1 2013: The NSA thing; I think most people have an over-inflated view of their own importance.
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      Aug 27 2013: I agree Ray, that we have a lot of insecure, wounded people in our world. I also recognize many challenges in the life experience, and I do not believe in labeling anything "failure". If we face the challenges, learn something, and can move on through the life adventure, we have not "failed", in my perception.

      Insecure adults and children are easy targets for bullies because insecurity is the foundation for both the bully and the victim. If a person can be secure enough in him/herself to NOT personally accept the words and behaviors of the bully, then the cycle is broken in that situation. Unfortunately, children usually do not have a choice, as adults, we do have choices.

      Yes, I agree with you that there is often a feeling that we (humans) need to be better, we're not good enough, which is an insecure perception and helps reinforce the foundation for a bully and a victim of bullying.

      I believe bullying is generally a learned behavior, and many who are bullies, have been bullied. They are often wounded people, with intent (consciously or subconsciously) to wound others in an attempt to bring others to their same level of discontent and insecurity.

      Knowing this, as I said, does not in any way justify the behavior. It does, however, provide information regarding how we might contribute to change. If one chooses to NOT take on the words and behaviors of the bully, it is important to reflect in oneself and understand some of the underlying causes. If one genuinely wants to stop bullying, it is also important to reflect and understand him/herself, and why s/he is choosing bullying behaviors.
      • Aug 28 2013: there is also a biological element, the primitive urge for dominance and the furthering of your own genes necessitates that others be placed lower. that's not an excuse however, like all urges they can be overcome with sufficient self-restraint.
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          Aug 28 2013: Good point Ben. There is the very basic "primitive urge", as you mention, and there are all kinds of studies connecting DNA with violence.

          Apparently, the "primitive urge" can be dealt with, because it is apparent that all people do not need to dominate, control or bully others to feel good about themselves, or guarantee the furthering of their own genes. Perhaps humans are evolving beyond this primitive urge?

          The studies regarding the DNA/violence are interesting, and it doesn't appear that they (researchers, authorities, etc.) have discovered a very useful way to use the information.
      • Aug 31 2013: exactly right, we're all differently predisposed to different behaviours, and hence we all need to apply varying amounts of willpower to keep our behaviour appropriate. it is harder for some people to refrain from bullying than others, but that's not an excuse for them to do it, rather they have to try harder to control themselves.

        i think knowing is a big help. eg when a person feels bad (headache etc) it's harder to control their temper, and being aware that you're feeling more on edge than usual helps prepare yourself to be more careful than usual to keep calm.
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          Aug 31 2013: True Ben...we're all different....have different behaviors....harder for some people to refrain from bullying....and that's not a very good excuse.

          Also true that part of the first step is awareness. If a bully thinks/feels s/he is getting something valuable from the bullying behaviors, there is no incentive to change. If, on some level, the behavior helps them feel superficially superior, stronger, smarter, etc., than others, they will continue to use the practice to try to bolster their own insecurity.

          It is pretty well known in the psychological field that bullies are insecure. They often feel out of control in some aspects of their life, and dominating others helps them feel more in control of something.

          Are you aware of the term "leveling"? It is a practice whereby one who is less secure tries to bring others to their level of insecurity or distress. That is basically what bullying is.

          Bullies AND victims of bullying are insecure. The bully cannot generally intimidate a more secure person, and a more secure person has no reason or desire to intimidate anyone.

          If we could ever genuinely empower more people (know thyself, as you point out in your previous comment), we might have fewer bullies and victims of bullying.
      • Sep 3 2013: hiya colleen, glad to hear from you. i learned also i guess from the same reports put out by psychologists the connection between insecurity and bullying.

        as a teacher i've seen levelling plenty of times myself though this is the first time i've actually heard the time. in my experience usually it's a diversion, rather than someone 'on top' of the bully level bringing someone else down, it's usually done by someone lower who doesn't want to be bullied, so they ensure someone else stays at the lower rung by bullying them.

        another experience i've had time and time again is discovering that the worst bullies aren't insecure at all. they like to say well i wish i did better at school and i feel embarrassed speaking in front of the class or whatever but it's complete bullshit. get to know them and they really don't care if they don't do certain work well because that work isn't important to them at all, though they regularly say it is to get parents and others of their case. no doubt psychologists and others who don't spend most days of the year for a number of years with these kids don't realise they're being fed a story which is why it gets into the reports.
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          Sep 3 2013: Hi Ben,
          I think I learned more from observation than from reports. The practice of "leveling" is probably not a conscious effort, but rather a subconscious effort to be on top, and feel some level of security, even if it is superficial.

          My experience with bullying behaviors started with my father, a very insecure person, who seemed to feel superficially better about himself when he could dominate and feel in control on some level.

          Another experience learning about bullying behaviors was co-facilitating "cognitive self change" sessions and other programs through the dept. of correction, with men who were incarcerated. They have some of the best tough guy bullying behaviors.

          Reading their files, and listening to them in the sessions however, seemed to uncover their insecurities, and I learned that the tough guy bullying behaviors were usually learned as a protective mechanism.
  • Aug 24 2013: why combat it? cyber bullying is the most preventable kind of bullying. be glad that instead of physical violence and verbal abuse, kids are *instead* just typing messages which are easily ignored or deleted. instead teach them skills that will be useful in the real world, such as recognising a troll from someone with legitimate criticism, not taking messages from a stranger personally, and better resilience. we could instead spend hours and millions in trying to stamp out everything that anyone might not like to hear, killing all human progress in the process (criticism is the seed of improvement, how can you do something better if you aren't aware of what's not good?) while fostering generations of people who need months in therapy when their boss tells them their report is poorly formatted.
  • Aug 22 2013: Unpopular idea: Teach moral behavior as a good in and of itself. Not "being nice" but being moral. Bullying is never moral. Humility is moral. It's not apathy that causes bullying. That's silly. Nothing is more apathetic than a rock in my yard. It doesn't care at all what I do. It does not cause me to do anything. Apathy might permit bullying, but it no more causes bullying than the rock in my yard causes me to like chocolate. Blaming the uninvolved is almost as bad as blaming the victim. The bully must be blamed and those who brought up the bully. If the bully is of the age of reason, crush it with all necessary force. If the bully is not of the age of reason, crush its parents or guardians with all necessary force. Bullies do not understand kindness or humility. They only understand force and power. Thus, since the lack the moral capacity to exercise restraint, they must be restrained, just like any other badly-trained animal. Then, once the bully realizes that further bullying will always bring about overwhelming societal retribution, retrain the animal until it becomes a human being.

    None of us are really born human. We are only born with equal capacity to become human. Most of us become human. Some of us are so badly brought up that we never become human. The worst of us choose to cease being human. Those members of our biological species who were not allowed to become human must be restrained until they are taught to be human. Those who have voluntarily ceased being human may be beyond correction, at which point they must be removed from the population. Bullying is a sign of either having not being allowed to become human or having decided to stop being human.
    • Aug 23 2013: Moral is a big word are you saying Moral right or Moral wrong, assuming the first, it would be moral wrong if I interfere with your Ideas but Moral right if we think alike, unfortunatly morals are tought so we let go of our Guards, when people who think outside the domeins of education impress them self we feel we are being bullid.
      if at first we are tought that no one must mass up with my things the only way is to stand up for my self, no one alse will (do or die), every body in school knew that don't mass with me, 'cause they knew the Consequences of that, I will literal bite my out another then that I will team up with the strogest so you would never think of interfiering unless you wanted some unpleasent thing to happen to you.
      what I'm tryin to say is teach kid to stand up for themself
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    Aug 22 2013: I think people can take a step back and think about what is going on; Bullies are deliberately trying to hurt people, so by that fact they discredit themselves. That is why I'm a big fan of free speech, because what we say is one of the biggest indicators of how much credibility we have, or in this case do not have.

    The ignorant are proven ignorant by their own words and deeds, I know it is difficult for many people to come to an understanding of what I am saying, but it's not the Dalai Lama who is calling you a loser online, it's a nobody, people like that are insulting themselves more than anyone else because they are proving what a heartless and ignorant person they are.

    The world is full of jerks, you cannot wrap kids up in cottonwool and protect them from that harsh reality for the rest of their lives, they have to develop a thick skin, recognise a fool when they see one, move on and don't let it change the caring nature they have. You don't need affirmation from others, that is a big reason why people are bullies in the first place, they want attention or they are bored, weak, flawed, lonely people that have lost touch with the inner truth, their human value.

    I think that instead of trying to control people we should identify what makes people the way they are and intercept that cause before it makes people become irrational. Fear and desire are the two primary causes of all irrational thoughts and behaviours, in some way linked to every other messed up thing people do, anger, hate, greed, judgementality, obsession, envy, avoidance of duty/liability/responsibility.

    There really should be more awareness on the dangers of not disciplining fear and desire when it is appropriate, but instead we have to work on these mega complicated social structures to contain the chaos of that simple failure.
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      Aug 26 2013: I agree with most of what you write Ray, and to recognize and understand that the bully is telling us a lot about him/herself, may eventually sink in with some bullies?

      We know that bullies are generally less secure and confident in themselves than the victims of bullying, and they are trying consciously or subconsciously to "level" the playing field of life. Putting someone "down" may help them to feel superficially/temporarily superior, stronger, smarter, etc. As you insightfully say...they discredit themselves.

      The only thing I disagree with you on, is the idea that kids don't need affirmation from others. Kids DO need positive affirmation, and although bullying can adversely impact young kids, sometimes if they can get positive affirmations from others around them, they can navigate through the impact of bullying.

      As you say, we need to identify what makes people the way they are, and try to intercept those behaviors which may adversely impact other people.
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        Aug 26 2013: For sure, kids need affirmation because they are not at the philosophical level of development of many mature adults, I agree with you there. Even many adults still feel that need, I'm the type who is more about inner empowerment than depending my happiness externally.

        Obviously I don't mean being affectionate and supportive of family and friends, that's nuts, but a person should be careful not to become what they call "needy" that is of course depending on maturity and such. But it's one thing between those in a caring relationship but different with a jerk at school or a stranger on the internet.

        Wisdom begins with compassion and uses logic in that spirit to develop, but both are important and compliment each other, what is one without the other?
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        Aug 26 2013: It sounds a lot like me ? :)))) I'm the Mr. Troll, I think.
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        Aug 26 2013: Yup, we have students who seek to grow and then we have the ignorant who only seek others to agree with them ;)
  • Aug 19 2013: Bullying, and subsequently overcoming the adversity associated with bullying is akin to evolutionary character building. Yes it sucks, but parents need to have the talk with their kids where they tell them to "nut up". Not everyone is going to like you, in fact, some people are going to hate you for no reason at all. Learn to deal with them cause they will be there in some way your whole life, study hard and eventually you will make more money and be happier than those sad, lonely hearted bullies. They don't matter... so pay them no mind.
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    • Aug 12 2013: thanks jaen! your blog is protected, so i've requested access to view your post!
  • Aug 8 2013: One thing that would help is remove the anonymity of the bullies. That would stop some of them from doing it.
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      • Aug 10 2013: rules are great but enforcing them is another question.
  • Sep 7 2013: HI Dear oshua Poh.From my experience of surfing online,I think I have been tortured some period by cyberbullying.And I have been thinking how to deal with it and how teenagers to copy with them.

    The first,from my experience,I recalled all I can remember being a netcitizen.I think the most strong power to deal with cyberbully should from our inner world.more than ten years ago,when just tried to use interent to know most of things outside of my place,it was so excited.To be an honest,I have been an enthusiastic learner,but meanwhile I really didn't know so much about learning.for example,I wish I could learn english well,I wish I could meet a mentor to help me.I wish those english teachers could give me hands...all and all,I expected too much...and I really didn't know'Learn'...Maybe those expectation and reality I met online were quite different.Now I think it all caused by my own understanding of learing,life....and more than that...
    The second,I read some of books,watched videos from outside of world from internet.:most of them about how to understand of life,deal with dairy life trival things.I tried to balance'learning online and thinking in reality'.although I still feel uncomfortable when recieve unfriendly words,messages from internet,but I can adjust myself quickly.not been affected too much by that.I think most of this capacity comes from myself inner world thiknking.So I wonder how can we educated young teenagers to deal with impolite messages online.I have been thinking that very long time.Still not yet get clear plan for that .

    I read all comments here one by one,thanks all:)I do learn a lot from you guys.happy every day.Thank you again.
  • Sep 7 2013: thanks for all your really amazing responses! TED is one amazing community, a lot of information and perspectives to digest here!
  • Sep 6 2013: Josh, can you define bullying in such simple terms that it applies to all situations on the spectrum of severity that Is Bullying? Can you take something that is complicated and boil it down to fewest words possible?
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    Sep 4 2013: I think "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" might work.
    Find what it takes to "bully the bullies" and do so until they learn to show the compassion for others they would want for themselves.
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      Sep 4 2013: Good point Martin, and I think when/if we are strong enough in ourselves, we can sometimes reflect the bully behaviors back to the person using them. The challenge with the concept, is that kids are not always emotionally strong enough to do that.

      Secure people generally are not impacted by bullying, and secure people have no need or desire to bully. So, we need to genuinely empower children.....build their self esteem and confidence.....know thyself:>)
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        Sep 4 2013: I agree Collen, and perhaps society can help us help the bullies to know what it feels like, find their weakness and drive it home so they can discover a desire for compassion for themselves,and others. Please note I'm not into punishing the bullies so much as into re-educating them, it being up to themselves as to just how much thats going to take.

        I also like that you see this from both sides. Empowering last I checked does not mean handing someone a solution, instead it means giving them the tools and ability to dig their way out so that they build the strengths necessary to cope. Nice touch.
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          Sep 5 2013: I'm not into punishing either Martin, and agree with you that there is a need for education, a need for compassion, and a choice on the part of a person to use bullying behaviors or not.

          I believe most bullying behaviors are learned, as a protective mechanism for people who have themselves been bullied. If they are learned behaviors, they can be changed with a desire to do so.

          I saw this happen with incarcerated men in the "cognitive self change" sessions I co-facilitated. Most of the guys in the sessions had been mistreated as children, and being the tough guy with a determination that nobody would ever hurt them again, they adopted and practiced bullying behaviors.

          If society, as a whole, is going to address the issue, then society as a whole needs to recognize it as a genuine challenge in our world. There are still lots of people who say it's not a problem....it's just someone having a little fun with another person....it's not relevant....etc. etc. etc. Awareness is the first step toward change.

          I have observed the challenge from all sides Martin, and to me, empowering means showing people something different than bullying....offering them the tools to help change the behaviors, as you say. When we are genuinely empowered in our "self", we generally want to help support and empower others.

          Bullying behaviors tell us quite a bit about the person using those behaviors. If we do not respect ourselves, we cannot honestly respect others. If we treat others with disrespect, we are generally treating ourselves with the same disrespect. We cannot give something to others that we do not have in ourselves.
      • Sep 7 2013: Hi Dear Colleen,reading your comments here,it makes me feel delighted.I couldn't agree with your more which is about how we empowered in our'self'.

        Some of people take bullying others as fun.as well as watching others been bullied.That's very ridiculous pysch among general people.for example,two men fighting in the street,lots of crowds got around watching and bravo stand by side.What point to trigger their nerve to do so?low-educated?
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          Sep 7 2013: Hello Edulover...nice to see you and read your comments:>)
          When I was young, I believed that it was only uneducated people who bullied other people. I thought that an educated person could not.....would not mistreat another human being. However, we know that some educated people use bullying tactics, violence and abuse. So, I no longer believe it is only uneducated people who bully and abuse.

          I think/feel the type of education that is needed, is to recognize and spread the word that bullying, violence and abuse against others, demonstrates insecurity and lack of confidence, rather than strength and security. I see those who use bullying and abuse in their lives as hurting, wounded people who lack compassion and empathy.

          I believe one who uses bullying, violence and abuse against others has not learned any other way of "being" in our world. They may feel fear because some aspects of their lives are out of control, so there may be a superficial feeling of being stronger, smarter, superior, etc. when they can contribute to another person feeling less confident in him/herself. Those who use bullying tactics, need to realize that real strength and empowerment is in encouraging and supporting oneself and others in the life experience in a beneficial way for oneself, as well as others.
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      Sep 3 2013: Kim,
      I agree that those who exhibit bullying behaviors often want to be liked and want attention. I also agree that the behavior often stems from jealousy or greed.

      Why should we "delight in all the bully does to get...attention". It seems that delighting in unacceptable behavior simply reinforces and encourages the behavior.
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          Sep 4 2013: Kim,
          First you say "delight in all the bully does to get your attention". Then you say "we should never delight in any act of aggression". Usually, a bullying behavior is an act of aggression.

          I agree that it is helpful to be aware of basic human rights, and it is also helpful to nurture those who have been hurt.

          I do not know the "destiny" of anyone, and it seems unrealistic to say that you do. You use the word "must" quite a bit, and I don't feel that to be helpful to anyone.
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      Sep 4 2013: "Delight in all the bully does to get your attention. This is a victory for you everytime."
      Respectfully I think you need to rethink your logic.
      4 men rape you, then they post online pictures of them doing it to you and claim you wanted it.
      (that poor girl that killed herself)
      and you suggest she should have delighted in it?
      mmm .. yes please rethink your logic
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        Sep 4 2013: I didn't see any "logic" in that idea Martin. I checked out the link provided before it was deleted, and it looked like a religious site.
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          Sep 5 2013: I do understand forgiveness and mercy, but first the person needs to be in the mindset to desire it.

          Up until that point, I feel they need to be brought to that point.

          Rewarding bad behavior, only feeds it, and brings further victimization.

          Help the victim, stop the victimizer, do what you must to prevent recurrence. and do what you can to heal them both.
  • Sep 3 2013: Bullies might be a product of bad parentship and unfortunate social relations etc. etc. Acting bullyish - no matter the excuse - should have consequenses and normally it would have... The problem with cyber bullying is that they can do it highly disguised and without consequenses... Might be an alternative CSR matter, where companies bans certain IP's from using their services!
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      Sep 3 2013: I believe people intent on bullying know how to get around this obstacle.
    • Sep 7 2013: I think when we humanbeing needed any enforcement laws or rules...to some extent,should be ashamed of being a humanbeing.
  • Sep 2 2013: Why focus on cyber bullying? It is not nearly as dangerous as bullying that takes place in real life. People forget that the bully can't actually reach through the computer screen and grab them. You are always, always safer at home on a computer than you are out in the street.

    Instead of trying to invent software that will prevent "cyber" bullying, we need to focus on stopping bullying period.
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      Sep 2 2013: I totally, wholeheartedly agree Lee...."we need to focus on stopping bullying period"! Well said.

      Where and how do we begin?
      • Sep 4 2013: By accepting the fact that humans are not born with a conscience or the ability to empathize.
  • Aug 28 2013: Bullies must be exterminated with severe prejudice. They have earned it. A book just sits on a shelf, it takes no acts and makes no choices. Bullies choose to bully.