There are various discussions about bullying, specifically cyberbullying, going on on -- a subject that is always important. Take a look for example at BethB's post on the Silicon Valley Moms Blog, and Lisa Stone's thoughts on Blogher.
I was bullied as a girl, and feel the effects of it in my life today. I'm sensitive to criticism, sometimes feel its difficult to "belong" with people. The cruel words and actions of bullies are truly damaging in a panoply of ways
Bullies operate best when they are anonymous, or in real life when they are not "seen" by those who would hold them accountable.
To me, this means the "solution" to cyberbullying is to identify the individual who is doing the bullying. Obviously much easier said than done, but the other truth about bullies is that they are not unusually bright and can be identified by a variety of social engineering means that have nothing to do with IP tracking.
So here's how I respond to people online who act in any one of many of a spectrum of ways I don't like or appreciate, on boards, email lists, etc.:
- Ignore. Always the first line of defense, usually sufficient in most cases.
- Innoculate. Make sure I understand the difference between what is being said and what is true about me.
- Insulate. Recruit help for my point of view if it's a flame war, make sure others know I'm feeling uncomfortable if that's what is happening. Withdraw from the frey for a while if necessary.
- Illuminate. Make sure attacker is known, if at all possible. Identify him/her, publish that information. Don't hide. Bullies and bullshit both thrive in the dark.
Do you or any of your kids suffer cyberbullying? What do you do about it?