Friday, September 15, 2006
Bait the Line...
I was watching the Prime Time expose last night on children who have taken school yard bullying to a new level with the internet. The story was based around a mentally fragile boy who killed himself after being taunted by girl classmates and encouraged by a blogger friend.
This is a video that condenses the story.
Part of the story focused on an “in” group of girls who were challenged to create personas and then interact on line with some college guys and then with another group of “nerd” teenage girls who were acting under the same instruction.
What I found interesting is that under the cloak of anonymity these girls were so mean to each other that they ended up shocking themselves. This went for the “in” and “out” crowd equally. The college guys were really surprised with the adult proactive nature of interaction with these girls who were all around 13-15 years old. In fact I think you might call their reaction unnerved. You simply never know who you are interacting with.
Also interestingly the boy who killed himself I believe he was only 12 or so, knew the identity of his tormenters. When interviewed one of the girls who taunted him admitted that she really did not know that what she was doing was having such a detrimental effect as in many ways it seemed like it was all make believe as nothing was tangible but the words.
The girls given the challenge to create personas were not told to be mean. There was almost a mob mentality created. All it took was for one group to step over the line to set the standard for the ensuing cruelty.
When I have anonymous commentators on this site who feel the need to get a rise out of me, I actually find it quite amusing. I assume that they are amused as well, or why spend the time doing it?
Not as a lecturing point, simply a point in principal, please remember that the adage of sticks and stones does not apply to everyone. There are people who take this seriously and who then can be seriously damaged.
Ya also just never know when what goes around is coming for you...