Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Rise of the Cyberbully

While cyberbullying in America has garnered a lot of attention, mainly due to attacks on social media that lead the victims to commit suicide, in China it has been a relatively rare phenomenon till now. However, instances of cyberbullying are on the rise here, as evidenced by this article, posted in ChinaDaily:

America has made laws in the face of cyberbullying. China's cyber-laws are still in their infancy, and that includes determining punishment for such bullies.

You might have guessed by my writing about this topic that I have my very own cyberbully on my ChinaDaily blog page. A comment attached to one of my blog posts, that had nothing to do with the article's topic, read: 

teacher we all like you but your punctuation are not correct .your are out of touch with our generation .can you please improve your teaching style in our class? we do not like when you talk like this things in class or and in the net .can you improve your teaching style for us ? my classmates talk things .you shouldn't not say poorly things of this any more .

Doesn't sound like bullying, does it? It sounds like a student who wishes to point out some deficiencies in my teaching or writing style, something I'm always glad to improve on. My response included: “Which class are you in? What is your name? Can we talk face to face?”

A few days later, on my message board:

teacher you make no real to help us .we are young and you are wrong influences on classmates .out of touch our generation and not actively in class .very too old for us to folow.

Now curious, I went to that person's page: no blogs posted, no friends, no pictures, no articles shared. In fact, that page seems to have been created the day the first comment appeared. I intuit I might have trouble.

And what am I supposed to make of that message?

“...out of touch with our generation...”. Like my bully is the first teen ever to express that thought? What youngster has not, at one time or another, accused older generations of being out of touch?

“...very too old for us to follow.” I can't help being old anymore than I can help being female, Caucasian or tall!

What is this bully hoping for? That I'd become despondent? Cry? Quit my job and flee the country? Kill myself??? 

Am I a target of a 'human flesh search', that uniquely Chinese phenomenon where an attacker will seek out information to target a potential victim with? Or is this person really one of my students who went through the trouble of finding me in the void of cyber-space, and then created a profile page for the exclusive purpose of sending hateful messages?

Here, Cyber-bullies everywhere, are some lessons for life:

1.      If you're going to put forth the effort of doing something; if you are going to speak with utter conviction, be proud of yourself! Put your name to it. Only a coward or a weakling hides.
2.      State your desired outcome. It makes things so much clearer to us victims. It is so bothersome to have to try to figure out what you want from us!
3.      How about not bullying? Clearly there are better ways for you to spend your time and energy.

As for my bully... I feel sad. I hope she will stop hiding behind our blogging community and out of cyber-space, face me  directly and tell me what's really on her mind. Until then, there's nothing else to be done. 

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