While the persistence, range, and audience for on-line indiscretions clearly eclipses anything in the pre-tech world, the behaviors are the same. Remember "Slam Books," the tart volumes circulated by the cool kids (not me) to "assess" the non-cool (me) kids? In my day, we were taught to consider the source. Bullying existed, but it was especially brutal behaviors that earned that epithet. Every hurt feeling, exclusion from a play group or birthday party, every slight, was not escalated (by adults) into a freaking Federal case. Indeed, today's misguided culture of full-inclusion-be-equally-nice-to-everybody is destructive, creating a generation of weak, whiny children who blame everything on someone else's behavior.
I know it is heresy to voice this, but nasty FB posts do not lead to suicide. Relatively innocent videos--however stupid--do not lead to suicide. Depression, isolation, lack of familial support, and other mental illnesses (and sometimes physical ones or fear of same, esp. HIV) may lead to someone suiciding, but it has become too easy--in this culture that loves quick fixes and hates ambiguity--to pin blame along with legal burden on stupid, insensitive children and youth rather than seeking root cause or living with the unknown.
This unfortunate trend cheapen bullying and does a true disservice to those who are truly victimized by more than bits and bytes. We need to take a GIANT step back, assess, and breathe.
And for once, I agree with Deb!
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