The victims and perpetrators are abundant; bullies are taking to the Internet to harass people in such large numbers, it’s become commonplace. The results are extremely harmful, not only to the actual recipients of the harassment, but to the integrity of the sites meant to share honest information, represent solid and reputable businesses, share factual news and events, and provide safe social connection.
The advent of the Internet has created a breeding ground for some people to spread ugliness and hostility from their computers and to act without constraint given the anonymous nature of communication. Whether an impulsive act or a repetitive, intentional attack, taking to the Internet to negatively target others is a form of abuse and the destructive impact is very real.
Teenagers, business owners, health care practitioners (including therapists) and celebrities are among those on the receiving end of these spiteful assaults. Teens are all too familiar with rumors and name calling, practitioners and small business owners are vulnerable to repeated false and slanderous statements made by a particular individual, and celebrities are dehumanized by insults and judgments about their looks, relationships and lifestyle choices.
All people could benefit by becoming more aware and learning about the prevalence of cyber bullying in order to take the steps necessary to protect and support themselves and others in the presence of these violations. Just because cyber bullying happens frequently, doesn’t mean it should become socially, morally, ethically or professionally accepted. Please consider teaching your kids, your friends, your family and your colleagues about the damage caused by the lies, the smear campaigns and the toxicity being perpetuated by this phenomenon. It is unjust, malicious and dangerous to attempt to tarnish the reputation of others by spewing hate, blame, and defamation, period.