Sociology

Cyberbullyingrealbullying – No



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To claim that cyberbullying is as damaging as personal harassment is as absurd as claiming that watching a violent movie is the same thing as witnessing violence of equal caliber.  Though some people seek to blame both of these things for societies problems, they are merely scapegoats.  The whole point of the internet is detachment.  Engaging with another human being on the internet is a far less personal, and therefore exponentially less moving experience.  This in itself is a problem, as many people can use the internet cloister themselves away from actual meaningful interpersonal experience that allows a person to grow, but it also means that what is said on the internet will never affect a person as deeply as it would in real life. 

At the age of 18 (hopefully that youth will not cause my argument to be dismissed), I have been called some pretty horrible things via the internet.  I have had profanities cross-pollinated in ways I had never imagined for the sole purpose of a person attempting to insult me.  And would you like to know the typical reaction from me?  A raised eyebrow at my computer screen, a bemused look that might even progress to a laugh.  I have had everything from my sexual orientation and genital size to my parentage to my psychological well-being called into question on the internet, yet it is meaningless because these people do not know me.  They have no basis for truth or knowing whatever they claim to know.  If a person said some of these things to me in real life, I would probably be offended, or at least not amused.  But the internet is so impersonal as to be unaffecting.

That is not to say that cyberbullying is always this harmless.  Some people take it to extremes, and some victims are emotionally vulnerable to the point at which they take such things harshly.  However, I claim that any amount of effort put into cyberbullying would be much more damaging if that same effort was enacted in real life, meatspace if you will.  Also, any person vulnerable to internet attacks would be even more so to any direct personal attacks from someone they actually make eye contact with.  There is no way that cyberbullying can ever match real life harassment for effect.  It can only hope to compete in that it allows for a bully to have a greater volume of victims.

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