In Anyone Can Look Tough Behind a Computer III, I told you guys about how cyber bullies torment others. This post will tell you about who is doing the tormenting.
Every case of cyber bullying is different. Just like physical bullying, the motives and methods of the cyber bully are different. Some prefer anonymity. Others want their actions to be broadcasted in front of an audience. In order to effectively combat a cyber bully, you need to know the reasonings behind their behavior. In most cases, cyber bullies fall into 4 types of categories. These categories are identified as the vengeful angel, the power hungry (aka the revenge of the nerds), mean girls, and the inadvertent cyberbully.
The Vengeful Angel:
You can think of a vengeful angel cyber as a vigilante. Those who fall into this category hardly ever see themselves as a bully. He or she feels he or she is defending themselves, friends, or just righting a wrong. Often times the bully is angry at the victim for something he or she has done and is trying to teach them a lesson. This type of cyber bully usually emerges in situations when he or she or one of his or friends is the victim of cyber or offline bullying. In turn, he or she retaliates and becomes a cyber bully. This type of cyber bully general doesn’t require an audience and usually works alone. He or she usually choses to remain anonymous, however, they may tell close friends or others who they think have been wronged by their victim.
There are two errors in a vengeful angel’s way of thinking. The first error is that they don’t realize two wrongs don’t make a right. Bullying to stop bullying is just about as effective as (excuse my French) fucking for virginity or using violence to obtain peace. Things just don’t work that way. Secondly, anonymity on the internet is an illusion. Everything you do is recorded and can be traced back to you in some way.
Power Hungry and Revenge of the Nerds
A power hungry bully is the equivalent of a schoolyard or offline bully. Just like a schoolyard or offline bully, the power hungry cyber bully wants to prove that they are powerful and can control others through fear. Usually, all a power hungry bully is looking for is a reaction. If he or she doesn’t get the type they are searching for, the bullying will escalate. For this type of bully, it usually isn’t enough to instill fear or exert power over the victim. Because of this, he or she usually requires an audience to brag to.
Surprisingly, the people who fall into this category of cyber bullying are usually the victims of offline bullying. In most cases they are either physically smaller or weaker, female or a social outcast. Although he or she may lack physical strength, he or she usually have greater technical or computer skills than their counterparts. (Hence the Revenge of the Nerds moniker.) Usually, this type of bully targets the victim in a one on one style and doesn’t share their activities with others unless they feel they would sympathetic to him or her. This type of cyber bully is potentially the most dangerous considering their superior computer skills.
As the name would suggest, mean girl bullying usually occurs when a group of females tries to threaten, harass or intimidate another girl or boy. This type of cyber bullying is usually fueled by boredom or done for entertainment. It is usually acted out or at least planned in a group setting. In most cases, people who participate in mean girl bullying want others to know who they are and show how much power/influence the group has. Because of this, an audience is required. As admiration, fear and group comradery grows, so does the bullying.
In most cases, the inadvertent cyber bully doesn’t believe he or she is being a bully at all. In most cases he or she is just reacting to hateful and threatening messages they have received. Sometimes inadvertent cyber bullies do it because “they can”, are pretending to be tough online or just role playing. They don’t realize that what they are doing is wrong and that their actions do have consequences.
What Most Cyber Bullies Don’t Realize
Unfortunately, most cyber bullies have a hard time realizing that the internet is more than just a bunch of signals and wires. It’s real life. They are being disrespectful to people in real life with real thoughts and feelings. Just because they can’t see a person’s face, doesn’t mean that what they are saying isn’t hurting others. In some cases, a cyber bully may be putting a person’s life in danger.