Bullies have been around for as long as anyone
can remember. We’ve all seen them. They are the
biggest, baddest kids on the playground and everyone knows to stay out of their way.
But there is a new breed of bully in town, one that is unseen and virtually invisible. A sneaky breed that hides a cruel streak that drives the bullying behavior behind a screen name. A breed that pummels a victim with negativity much more brutally than the old style bully could with his fists.
These cyberbullies do it partly because it is so easy. It takes very little effort to snap an embarrassing picture with a phone and post it, spread a rumor via twitter, or send an abusive text.
From the bully’s point-of-view it’s little different than a game. None of it is really real. It all happens in the no man’s land that is the digital world. And the digital world is, after all, simply a fairy tale land made up of wispy clouds of data.
Besides, the bully is safely hidden behind a mask. No one knows who contributed that comment or posted that humiliating picture, so as far as the bully’s is concerned, there’s no reason for guilt.
But the victim’s point-of-view is quite different since she can never escape the bully’s insulting taunts. And instead of an embarrassing moment dying a natural death, it goes viral. Suddenly everybody knows about it. Life becomes a misery.
And stays that way. Zombie-data lives on forever on the Internet. Rude comments, insulting tweets, and mortifying pictures never truly die, they just keep coming back over, and over, and over again. There is no escape.
This is the world that we live in, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Our first task to to make everyone understand that the digital world IS a part of our world. What goes on in that crazy, mixed up place doesn’t stay there.
It is what Gray Zone is all about.