Cyber bullying can happen to anyone of any age, according to author Blair London, who heard some of her adult friends share stories of their experiences on social media.
After researching, she realized they were not alone.
She maintains the distance provided by online communication can sometimes make people crueler than in real life.
“So, you get the friend of a friend of a friend, who doesn’t really care who this original person is, and so they don’t care if any harm comes to them,” she points out.
London recently published “Lure to Death,” a novel that centers on the issue of adult cyber bullying.
According to nobulling.com, cyber bullying can play out with harassment, impersonation, or sharing someone’s secrets online. It’s also called trolling.
Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky recently spoke publicly at a TED talk in Vancouver on her experience with bullies who sent cruel messages to her via social media.
In her speech, Lewinsky offered others encouragement as they struggle with cruelty online.
“Anyone who is suffering from shame and public humiliation needs to know one thing,” Lewinsky stressed. “You can survive it. I know it’s hard. It may not be painless, quick or easy, but you can insist on a different ending to your story.”
London says while adult cyber bullying may be a growing problem, online cruelty between young people is nothing new. She says it often starts as tweens friend people for the sake of quantity and not quality.
“Young people, I think that they collect friends,” she explains. “They go on the Internet at that young of an age and put things out there and they think nothing of it. They think they’ve got a friend out there.”
Tennessee has a law that requires every school district to have a policy prohibiting bullying and harassment. Schools must also have procedures for investigating violations of the policy.
The Tennessee Department of Education recommends you document bullying and report problems to school administrators.