Blog / Cyber-Awareness and Cyber-Bullying

Bullying is real. It exists and it happens. This is a fact that most people accept and understand.

Cyber-Bullying” is just as real and happens (probably more than you might think), but there are a couple of very real differences:

 

With traditional bullying, you need to be there, physically. You must be able to touch/push the person being bullied or be within earshot, so they can hear you. If you are doing something to the person’s belongings, then you need to be there to do it. This makes assigning blame and things of that nature easy, because it’s simple to link those actions directly to people. It also makes it easier for people to understand, because someone was there physically.

Some people might think that a lack of physical proximity would make Cyber-Bullying less effective, but that’s not entirely true.

With the Internet there is a real sense of anonymity, and the feeling that you can’t be tracked. Rather than needing to be anywhere near your target, you can have access to them at any time, from anywhere. Normally you wouldn’t be able to bully someone when they are in their home. With tools like Social Media and Email, there are no longer any “safe spots.”

This may give people the courage to say things they wouldn’t say otherwise, possibly because they feel it won’t be traced back to them, or maybe because there’s a complete lack of the typical social queues you have in a conversation (i.e.: body language.) Maybe it’s the perception that they think there won’t be any consequences, or that it’s just a joke. I’m sure the exact reason(s) probably vary from person to person.

 

https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-cyber-bullying

https://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/what-is-it/index.html

How to Deal with Cyber-Bullying & Substance Abuse – https://www.inpatientdrugrehab.org/cyberbullying-substance-abuse/

 

Regardless of what your personal views are, from a legal perspective Cyber-Bullying is real in Canada. This makes it a punishable offense, just like speeding or murder, or any other method of breaking the law. The basic reasoning is simple enough. Physical Bullying should be no different than Cyber-Bullying; it’s just that the medium for it has changed.

 

But Cyber-Bullying never hurt anyone, right?

https://nobullying.com/six-unforgettable-cyber-bullying-cases/ – To save you some reading, the answer is Suicide. Cyber-Bullying has led to death. There are very real, tangible consequences that can happen. It’s not always this bad, but it can go this far.

 

It’s not just kids that get Cyber-Bullied.

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-40491956 – This happens to adults too. Thankfully, adults can have better emotional stability than children, so walking away is a more realistic outcome.

 

What does this mean to you, at the end of the day?

http://www.prevnet.ca/bullying/cyber-bullying/legal-consequences  –  http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cycp-cpcj/bull-inti/index-eng.htm

 

The short answer is that it means there are very real consequences for being a bully on the Internet. Alberta also has some additional rules that are unique to Alberta and you should really be aware of what they are. Just because you don’t know the law, doesn’t mean you are exempt from it.

So first there’s the obvious: no bullying people online. What bullying is should be well known and understood, so I don’t think I need to explain that. This rule applies to Canada-wide. Depending on the nature of things and the outcome of the situation, charges can wind up being Civil or Criminal.

Second (and this is the part that’s unique to Alberta), if you are a Student and you see Cyber-Bullying happening, you are required to report it (Legally required!) As a Student, you are as much responsible for creating a warm and caring Educational environment as the Administration.

So not only can you be held accountable for your actions, but you can be held accountable for turning a blind eye as well.

 

Karl Buckley
kbuckley@trinustech.com

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