Thursday, January 9, 2014

Internet Trolls & Online Bullying

It's kind of funny how sensitive I can be considering I'm quick to stand up to bullies, some of my favorite music is hard core metal and rap, I'm addicted to getting tattoos, and I'm known to swear like a sailor in everyday life. I guess one could almost say my personality is a bit of an anomaly. Because it only takes one hurtful comment directed my way to bring me down.

When I first decided to take the plunge and publish books under my real name, I knew I would be dealing with a lot of bad people saying mean things. I personally do whatever it takes to try to avoid negativity of any kind on social networks. There's enough hatred in the world the way it is, I don't feel like I need to contribute in any way.

But I seriously don't deal well with spite. At all. The minute someone calls me a name or says something cruel on my work or even something I've commented on, my good mood evaporates faster than yoga pants at a VS annual sale. This is something I've been trying hard to overcome, but it's exhausting. There seem to be so many bitter, angry people in the world who have access to the Internet. I always find myself wondering if they were abused as a child, they hate everything about their own life, or they just hate people in general. Then again, maybe they are literally short, disgusting, terrifying trolls who have evolved to operate computers. Nothing would surprise me at this point.

Seriously, though, I can't get in the head of someone who feels it's necessary to ask me if I'm retarded and live under a rock when I leave a comment on YouTube saying celebrities are just people and don't deserve some of the horrible crap others say to them online. Of course most of these people use a pseudonym, hiding under an anonymous name that no one will ever be able to trace to them, but I still don't understand the kind of hate it takes to strike out against a stranger. Are they secretly nuns, needing a release? Are they the type who kick puppies? Do they also steal candy from babies?

To make things worse, critics and gossip rags have jumped on the bandwagon. making bullying acceptable. Although I've always been against TMZ, I follow them on Facebook as they seem to be the first to post information on entertainment news. But their posts became so negative that I decided to stop (only surprise, it won't let me "unlike"...another form of bullying). Who cares if Beyonce forgot to shave her pits? Yeah it's probably embarrassing for her (or not), but why bring it to the attention of the entire nation? They're always quick to find the bad in people. And we wonder why actors and musicians turn to drugs? Really? We've seen a lot of teen suicides come about from online bullying, but this is just another step in the wrong direction.

Watching shows like TMZ, as interesting as hearing about the life of celebrities can be, only helps them rocket with the success of internet bullying. It's as if we're in a generation where no one feels accountable for anything they say. If more isn't done to stop it, the next generation my children are a part of are eventually going to become immune to online bullying. I urge everyone to stop and think about what they're saying before they post anything remotely negative online. You may think it's okay, because someone is famous and probably won't ever see your post anyway, or because you're using a fake account name to hide behind, but it's not. At all.

If you've ever watched Jimmy Kimmel's "celebrities read mean tweets" segments (see left), you'll know famous people do see the bad comments (hopefully they truly take it as well as it seems, but who knows what comments stick with them). As funny as it is to see the celebrities mocking the seriously idiotic tweets they've received, it's also another way of making bullying seem okay. You know there are trolls out there loving the attention they're getting with those skits. I'd say some really awful things about these kind of people, but as I said, I'm not one to post negative thoughts online. I'll just let karma do its work instead.

For ways to combat bullying and make donations, check out The Kind Campaign, a charity co-founded by the wife of Aaron Paul (Jesse from Breaking Bad).


Dr. Alan Davick said...

Bullies usually have associated mental health issues, some of which are learned and others of which may be inherited. These mental health issues often take away a bully's ability to make better behavioral decisions. An example of a learned behavior is the targeting of vulnerable individuals, as in families where kids are being bullied by their parent(s). An example of an inherited condition is Bipolar Disorder.

Victims of bullying are usually chosen as targets because of vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities may also be learned, inherited or situational. Poor self esteem and self-loathing may be learned. Odd physical features may be inherited. Situational vulnerabilities include being a newcomer to the community, thus missing out on the protective "herd" effect of a group of friends.

Before bullies or victims are "managed" by parents any underlying limits to behavioral choice-making need to be recognized or eliminated.

Once a parent is confident a bully is engaging in willful misbehavior, managing the bullying comes down to presenting seductive consequences for good decision-making. The most powerful "seductive" consequences for managing misbehavior are affection and, in the case of parents, affection within a love relationship.

A number of effective disciplinary models are available for parents to use to stop bullying: Deterrence, Diversion, Deflection and Drawing. More about those if anyone's interested.

Alan M. Davick, M.D. - Behavioral-Developmental Pediatrician
Author: Managing Misbehavior in Kids: The MIS/kidding Process

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Bullying is an epidemic today. It seems that a conscience is sometimes thrown out with the baby and the bathwater. I avoid a lot of celebrity news because it is just condescending and negative. Sadly sometimes I have to wade through it just to get news on an upcoming movie. Want to find out more about American Hustle. Just sit through four minutes of celebrity gossip to get just 30 seconds of movie news. Unless there is a clip or more gossip about the film's stars. I mean seriously.

Anonymous said...

Changes in behavior (if no other obvious cause) such as mood shifts, feeling depressed, not wanting to talk about friends or school; drop in school work or achievement; unexplained physical injuries or damage to belongings; any signs of self-harm should be taken very seriously. If you are brave say If you don’t like me, why do you waste your time making fun of me? stand up don't be a victim be safe and keep protected check this out at!/page_home.

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