Monday, October 25, 2010

Cyber bullying, depression, and suicide

 For those that asked:  I'm not depressed (far from it)  I wrote this post in response to two local (Seattle area) kids that killed themselves after being cyber bullied)

Lately the news has been filled with stories where teenagers have committed suicide because they were bullied online.  This is not surprising because bullies with low self esteem can hide behind an anonymous user ID in order to harass others that do not agree with them or their their opinions. Most people think they are anonymous and can hide behind their computer screen or an anonymous proxy server.

Many news and social media sites fail to fairly monitor their users.  This has become obvious in the Kyron Horman case.  Most of the news sites will let people post defaming statements and threats of torture against Terri Horman.  Yet if you even hint that Kaine Horman may have been involved, your posts are censored and you are threatened of being banned - and yet they allow other users  to make posts that threaten your life, call you names, and make disparaging statements against you - a complete stranger to them.1

Children who have fragile self esteems because of their age and insecurities while growing up become depressed and some even suicidal under such harassment.  Usually when there is one cyber bully, there are others.  They tend to form groups and become a cyber gang of thugs.1

It is unfortunate and disgusting that this is allowed to happen.  Kids who complain find either the online forum / social media site is slow to act and, after some experience,  they see it as almost useless to try to get it removed.  They also soon realize that once it is posted in one spot, it has spread uncontrollably to many other sites.  The overwhelming harassment by others causes these kids to become depressed.  Some do complain about it but others have been let down by those around them so much (and maybe even bullied by them) they give up.  Some kids cannot even count on their parents - those who are suppose to defend and protect them.

Site administrators running news site and other forums need to take responsibility.  They can run all the articles against cyber bullying and run articles about the president speaking against cyber bullying but if they allow it on their forums, the message they are sending is that page views and revenue matter more to them than the actual victims of the cyber bullying.

I started this blog because my views were being censored and I was a victim of cyber bullying / harassment.  Few people wanted to share different views and discuss all the possibilities.  Many already had Terri Horman convicted and wanted to torture her to get her to talk.  If you posted there was no evidence she was guilty and you thought Kaine Horman was responsible for Kyron's disappearance, people started calling you "Terri", "DeDe", and making statements and comments about you.  And when one of them did it, there were others who joined right in with them (I have pages and pages of such harassing comments)  Maybe it's because I'm INTJ (myers-briggs personality type) and others of different personality types would rather go with their "gut instinct" instead of facts.  Even if that is the case, they have no right to bully others and not allow others to share alternative theories.  They seems to be narcissists in thinking they are right (even with no evidence) and others who would rather go with the facts and do not think like them are "automatically wrong".

Even after the rash of cyber bullying suicides and articles about how victims of cyber bulling become depressed and suicidal, the news sites are still allowing the cyber bullying of those who post views opposing  the vocal minority (views which are mirrored in their one sided "news" articles)

I challenge the media sites to moderate their forums better and to stop the cyber bullying.  Their forums are suppose to be for sharing different ideas and opinions and not just to increase their page views and ad revenue.

I challenge people to care about those around them and if they recognize the signs of depression2 to be there for that person and find out what the problem is and get them help to deal with it.  If it is cyber bullying, contact the authorities.  There are laws against computer harassment. If if the site refuses to deal with it, file attorney general complaints against the site in both your state and the state the web site is based in. You can also get a restraining order against the site forcing them to stop the cyber bullying against you.

Remember:  The bully is the one with the problem and they want to make you feel worse about yourself than they feel about themselves.



Cyber Bullying: Bullying in the Digital Age

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