How does Cyberbullying usually start – The origins
The more I study Cyberbullying and other related issues, the more I see the Human Being has the same mental processes as in the past.
The expression of these processes differs.
The Web brings another piece to the puzzle: maybe for the first time in the human beings history the message is affected by the medium, and the latter affect our minds (for the good and the bad).
So we have to take the usual mental processes about deviance and enrich them with the new technology.
It’s a Digital World.
Our children live a blended Reality, where Digital and Offline are not two sides of the same coin: they are the coin!
Video games replaced the real world, and our children take example from them when they feel the need to understand how the World works.
It’s an old story, a role once delegated to prehistoric campfires (think about Myths), then to the street storytellers (think about fables and spoken novels), books, TV, now video games.
The insurgence of the Hybrid Identity.
As Online and Offline merge and blend together, our children are not able to discern the different Identities as we are.
That is, we lived the pre-Web, so we can somewhat compare how Life was before to how Life is after, so we are able to stay aware of the different Identities.
Our children aren’t.
The Web is to them the same as the air is to us.
The Web is, period, and nothing more.
The Web of Things is going to push this process any further.
So many Identities, and so much confusion.
It’s still early to define how the presence of so many Identities may create confusion in our kids mind.
Anyway, in my professional study and practice, I see children need stability and recurrence.
We always lived many Identities: scholars, boyfriends/girlfriends, sons/daughters, father/mother, co-workers, friends, etc.
Though we usually endorse more than one role in the same period of our Life, in the offline the different roles have stronger boundaries.
So I am a co-worker from 9am to 5pm, and father and husband in the evening and at the weekends.
The Online makes these boundaries collapse.
So it’s evening, and I am a husband, when my smartphone rings a notification: it’s my business partner asking for an urgent issue I have to solve before the morning after. So I have to shift from being a husband to being a co-worker…while at home!
Think about our children: they play so many games, they chat in so many groups, and they are requested to shift these different Identities in a matter of a second, and reshift again after just 30 seconds.
Very distracting, and so much confusing.
And with confusion stress and anxiety come.
So why Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is a multi-factorial issue.
Cyberbullying as Social and Emotional issue.
The more the Social disease, the more the fear and the anxiety, and the more the anger.
Cyberbullying among teens, as well as Bullying, is expression of the uneasiness.
Furthermore, the Cyberbullying act aims to humiliate the victim on a psychological side: the observers have an important role here.
The more the observers, the more the psychological humiliation, the more the success of a Cyberbullying act.
Cyberbullying as Moral issue.
Video games are reported to enhance our children’s lower cognitive skills (i.e.: spatial skills) and reduce their abstract skills.
We need abstraction to find a higher meaning from our Reality.
So our children grow up more and more pragmatic, and they may lose the ability to find Values and Missions.
When this happens, they take care more of the penal punishment rather than the moral values.
The Cyberbullied meets the Cyberbully.
Here the Cyberbullying becomes a Relational issue.
That is, researches found a correlation between Cyberbullying and Emotional disease of the victim, like Depression or other mood disorders.