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Cyber bullying affects everyone (UPDATED)

Cyber Bullying

A blight on the online community and something that seems to be reaching a peak at the moment. Far too often we see people being driven off of social media and being threatened with physical abuse. It’s often bad enough for people to fear for their safety. Attacks like these are particularly bad against woman and that’s why the UN has recently released a report on violence against woman online.

But should we be focusing on specific gender when tackling online violence?

My biggest concern is that this will limit prevention of cyber bullying. I am not disputing that online violence against woman is more aggressive at all. We know it is, but that’s not the point here.

The UN report (You can see the full report here and the highlights here) paints a fairly bleak picture. An estimated 73 per cent of women have experienced some form of online violence with woman between 18 and 24 being most at risk of  stalking, sexual harassment and physical threats. It kind of scares a person to think how unfriendly and violent the online world is. The report did get me thinking: What about other groups? I’ve experienced a lot of cyber bullying as a male, including physical threats of extreme violence and in rather graphic detail. It’s a fairly common, yet still terrifying aspect of being online.

Some searching on the topic revealed a fairly interesting set of reports that seem to show that violence online is fairly equal in occurrence between men and woman. Take a read there as it really is interesting.

The two most interesting graphs however were the following:

Cyber Bullying


Cyber Bullying

One can see that both sides get roughly equal amounts of cyber bullying while woman get the worst sexual threats online. I struggled to find reports like this in regards to cyber bullying of the LGBT community, but I am fairly certain the resulting reports would show similar (If not more) levels of harassment.

So what am I actually trying to say?

Cyber bullying is a problem and it’s a problem that needs to be dealt with. But I don’t think it’s healthy to deal with it by focusing on one particular group alone. Yes, it’s a great that someone is doing something, but it almost feels like they are trying to treat symptoms instead of the main problem. I believe a broader approach needs to be taken where cyber bullying of any kind is stopped and dealt with. Online harassment should be able to be reported by any person, regardless of gender, race or lifestyle choice and have the right to be taken as serious as any other person reporting the same abuse.

By focusing on the harassment of one group all that’s happening is that other forms of harassment will grow worse. Perpetrators feel they are “safe” and will not be dealt with as aggressively as those who harass woman. While offenders against woman will hopefully now start being dealt with more swiftly thanks to recommendations by the UN, what will become of offenders against other groups? Will they be dealt with as swiftly as the UN would like those who are harassing woman online? I surely hope so because cyber bullying knows no racial, gender or life choice boundries. They go for what they see as the weakest point of any group and will stop at nothing to try and get their targets to be submissive and remove themselves from the online world.

Online harrasment of woman may be the worst out there. I agree myself that it is. But any attempt to stop cyber bullying needs to be stopped on an all inclusive level if it hopes to be successful at combating this kind of violence.

UPDATE 07-10-2015

It would seem that the report has been pulled for revision due to some complaints from the ESA calling it “an uninformed, misguided, and unfortunate report”

Published inOpinionSocietal issues
  • Grand Admiral Chief

    [mandatory tl;dr]

  • Grand Admiral Chief

    Bullying of ANY kind is horrible

  • Her Highness the Hipster

    Agreed – cyber bullying needs to be addressed across the board. While I support the focus on stopping the harassment of women because of where it can lead, all people of all walks of life should feel safe. Of course, making that a reality is another thing entirely.

    • Yeah, actual implementation is difficult. There is just so many people on the net and so many platforms this happens on. Each company would pretty much have to invest in to stopping it per platform and that would be immensely difficult to implement

  • Weanerdog

    Agreed Llew, I think that bullying in general needs to be stopped. GamerGate would have you believe that cyber bullying is not an issue because you can just close the app and walk away but I believe that really is not the case. Yes with most times it may piss us off for a couple of minutes, an hour maybe a day or two but somehow there is that time that it gets to you for some unknown reason.

    I must however be honest and I don’t agree with that UN report. I read it and it is in my pinion not so much about cyber bullying as it is about censorship. The underlying thought behind it seems to have the right intentions but it just degrades into a spew of why boys are becoming woman beaters by watching all the porn and playing video games. They also compare online bullying to physical abuse and physical rape. I feel that although cyber bullying is abhorrent to compare it to actual violence and rape you have missed something.

    The research gone into this report is also a slight worry to think that the UN could actually release something that is essentially a collection of opinions of people who are not exactly objective. Just 2 examples are the stats with regards to the porn are not verified by the source neither are their conclusions. I checked and found some results that concluded the exact opposite and although I am not qualified to check the methodologies used the fact that there are methodologies lead me to rather believe those. As the the Video game causing “zombie killers” out of our boys (“zombie killers” actually stands in the document and just shows the bias seeing as report is quick to point out that girls play more games than boys, but seemingly are the only ones becoming “zombie Killers”) This source is again someones opinion and he is a little interesting as most of his report is about video games and satanism and I also believe that in other work he called the Virgin Mary the actual Devil. Also 40% of the citations used are in fact not to anything that can actually be found. One is even to the author’s c drive.

    Conclusion and TL;DR

    Cyberbullying sucks real bad but not as much as actual rape and abuse. UN report is biased and full of shit.

    • Weanerdog

      More thoughts:

      Read a study about abuse on Twitter and was found that they had more false reports than real reports. Of the real reports they had more from 3rd parties than from the actual person abused.
      So that could mean that it was not an issue for the person abused or it could mean they don’t know how to report. So this really proves that to police it is almost impossible.

      The UN report states that it would be the job of the platform to police. So what is going to happen is that everything that is complained about would be removed. So if you want to bully someone you could use the system to have them removed.

      Also of the two so called experts that they called in, one of them would go looking for any online discussions about her or her game and would attack any negative comments and abuse the commentators and again use the resulting reply’s as evidence and she has also doxxed someone.

      The other has in fact been abused online, has received actual death threats and can therefore be called an expert but as she is such an extreme “feminist” that her views towards men might be a little aggressive.

      Also, checking the UN credibility how the hell does the UN have less than 20% of woman representatives and that they have just appointed a Saudi to head their Human rights expert council.

      I must say at least the Cyber violence report has got people talking about the issues even if it is in my very unhumble opinion a piece of crap.

      Please note that the views here are my own and do not reflect on the owner of this blog or the service provider, because I have to right that because if that report is taken seriously you might be responsible for what is in your comments.

      • Yeah I saw that C drive citation. Little bit funny considering there’s no way to view that citation unless you have access to the author’s machine.

        But the whole report is why I said I believe cyber bullying shouldn’t be focused on one specific group. Far too much bias that could creep in and as such a risk of unfairly treating others.

        Do it on a broad spectrum basis and you have a better chance of fighting it. That being said, it would have been nice if the UN report indicated violence online against other groups too

        • Weanerdog

          I agree wholeheartedly. Why make this out to be a woman only thing when it is a problem concerning everyone online. I think that the problem is that this report is that it is more about how men are responsible for violence against woman than it is about actual cyber bullying online. And I do feel that the cyber touch is as bad as a physical touch to be a little unkind to woman who have been actually abused.

          Now I am not saying that men don’t abuse woman in fact I saw facts that say in a certain European country 50% of woman receive some sort of physical abuse from their partners. How shocking is that.? Granted it was via a survey and those can produce very skewed results based on the selection criteria and actual questions asked but even so the result is absolutely horrendous.

          • absolutely. Violence against woman is bad even in our country. If anyone takes away from this post that violence against woman doesn’t exist or isn’t bad then I’ve done a bad job conveying my actual point.

            Pity the internet is such a massively anonymous place where trying to stop cyberbullying is a fairly tall task