Cyber-bullying – A crime that affects everyone

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Cyber-bullying – A crime that affects everyone

Today in our modern world we have a new evil in our midst.

It may not have thorns or look like something out of a horror movie, yet none-the-less, it is a monster that has caused and continues to cause great harm. Today we are living a new brand of bullying and its name is Cyber bullying, and it is contributing to our rise in depression, anxiety and suicide rates.

According to bullyingstatistics.org, more than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyber threats online, yet regardless of the dramatic increases, not much has been done to arrest this criminal activity.

The statistics are truly horrifying, and even though there is a lot of political talk and media attention, there are no real policies and laws in place that really support those who are victims of cyber-crime.

Unfortunately, it takes the death of a fellow human being to get our attention, or perhaps it would be more truthful to say that it often takes the death of someone famous to prompt us to sit up and take notice. One such famous death recently was an Australian celebrity Charlotte Dawson, on 22nd February 2014, she took her own life after many years of fighting cyber bullying and trolling.

In a recent article, ‘Trolls don’t just live under the bridge’ its author Andrew Bonallack wrote, “It's almost nauseating to read about the "flood" of tributes and regret that appeared on Twitter and social media, when it wasn't that long ago Dawson was weathering savage attacks by online trolls, sending her to hospital for emergency treatment.”

Why is it that as a race of beings we wait for something bad, terrible, or shocking to happen before we stand up and say something is not right?

As a psychologist, I notice that on the whole, two things happen:

  • as human beings, we become complacent when something does not affect us directly, we may become shocked or outraged but ultimately we think someone else will take care of it.

  • if it does affect us directly, be it us, or someone close to us, we get indignant, like "how can this happen?", then ultimately give up because there are no real policies to support in the speaking up. Now, perhaps this is not true for all, but it definitely is the majority.

What if all of us banded together acting on behalf of all human beings? We may, to quote a famous saying, “have the power to stop a nation.”

In Australia, we do it for a horse race like the Melbourne Cup, in the UK it is the Grand National, in America perhaps the Super Bowl final, but what if we did it for something as truly important as this, Cyber bullying?

If we all made a call to our local politician or sent a letter to government, it would not take long before the people who represent us, took notice and realised that the public are serious about this matter being dealt with.

Are we prepared to break this complacency?

“The true power of change comes from within. And that power comes from you and me speaking up and saying no. Imagine how powerful it would be if we all did this?

If you are experiencing bullying you can contact local and national agencies for support: Australia: http://au.reachout.com/Factsheets/C/Cyberbullying

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au

United Kingdom: http://www.bullying.co.uk/cyberbullying/

If you are a young person at risk of suicide or are worried about a young person at risk of suicide: HOPELineUK 0800 068 41 41

If you would like to express your concerns about cyberbullying you can contact:

Australia:
Minister for Communications Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield - minister@communications.gov.au

United Kingdom:
Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, The Undersecretary for State, Ed Vaizey MP - www.vaizey.com/contact‎


References

  • [i]

    bullystatistics.org

  • [ii]

    Wairarapa Times Age, “Trolls don’t just live under the bridge” by author Andrew Bonallack, Tuesday Feb 25th, 2014


Filed under

BullyingBehaviourCyber-bullyingPersecution

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    By Caroline Raphael, Psychologist, BPsych, MAPS, EPA accredited

    Life has so much to teach us, whether amazing or difficult there is always something to learn and evolve from. I love people and all our quirky differences. I love how we come together in crisis, that beneath it all we are fundamentally the same.