Before the internet, bullying ended when you withdrew from whatever environment you were in. But now, the bullying dynamic is harder to contain and harder to ignore.
Before the internet, bullying ended when you withdrew from whatever environment you were in. But now, the bullying dynamic is harder to contain and harder to ignore.

Why bullying has become harder to contain and ignore

OPINION

BULLYING. It's the result of an unequal power dynamic - the strong attacking the weak. It can happen in different ways: physical violence, verbal abuse (in person or online), spreading rumours, humiliation, exclusion.

I think it's important to note the distinction between urban and rural bullying. In urban and city environments, anonymity is possible. Even if you're bullied in school, you can have a supportive friend group at your local sports club. And there are multiple schools and suburbs, which means you can float from one to the other, leaving bullying behind you.

By contrast, in a rural setting, it can be impossible to get away. The next school might be 100km away. What's more, everyone knows everyone.

Your world becomes an isolated and small space.

In some ways, when it comes to bullying, the internet has made the world more rural.

Before the internet, bullying ended when you withdrew from whatever environment you were in. But now, the bullying dynamic is harder to contain and harder to ignore.

If you're harassed on your Facebook page, all of your social circles know about it. The ceaseless stream of notifications leaves you vulnerable to victimhood.

The internet has made bullying both harder to escape and harder to identify. We are immersed in an online world where consequences often go unseen.

School children need to be taught kindness and empathy. A sense of community needs to be fostered in the classroom, and gateway behaviours need to be identified and nipped in the bud.

Need to talk? Help is available. 

South Burnett


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