The Cyber of Cyberbullying

Danah Boyd writers (in her blog, please check it out, link below):

I find myself increasingly uncomfortable with conversations about ‘cyberbullying.’ I fear that by emphasizing ‘cyber’ the term clouds what’s really going on. Don’t get me wrong – the internet, like all technologies before it, has altered the dynamics of bullying, but why didn’t my generation of ‘telebullying’? Three-way calling allowed people to bully from home with others virtually present for the attacks. Of course, i know the answer to that… bullying over the internet is not just a technological advance of bullying, but an advance that makes the attacks visible to adults.
I think it’s important to acknowledge that bullying that takes place in mediated publics (blogs, social network sites, etc.) and through private messaging in a surveilled computer (IM, email, etc.) is visible to adults in ways that note-passing, bathroom-wall-scribbling, and phone bullying just aren’t. And most kids are smart enough to do physical bullying outside of the view of adults, but a huge amount of physical bullying takes place at school where adults are nearby: recess, bathroom, school bus, under the bleachers at games, school carpark, etc.
In some senses, i’m glad that adults can see what terrible things take place amongst peer groups, but i’m unbelievably frustrated by how most of those adults emphasize the CYBER rather than the BULLYING. It’s as if the internet is the cause of the bullying. **The internet does not cause bullying, but it does MIRROR and MAGNIFY bullying.

** [This article goes on, please read the remainder on Danah’s site.]


For all of you interested in cyberbullying– I ask you to read Danah Boyd’s blog. It’s a great perspective from someone fully immersed in the study of social interactions by youth online.

I know Cyberbullying is such a hot, tender subject. An epidemic with the eye of mordor bearing down (and rightfully so)… but I completely agree with everything Danah has to say.

Cyberbullying does have many ties to home-life for kids. It isn’t the cyberbullying we need to be paranoid with– but the actions and choices of our children. Be at home. Be supportive. Be a parent.

Great article, Danah!

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