Bullying – It’s Not Just For Kids Anymore

Bullying – It’s Not Just For Kids Anymore

A Rutger’s University Freshman is dead after being outed by his roommate online. The Assistant Attorney General of Michigan has targeted an openly gay student and called him a “pervert” and “satan’s representative” online.

These type of cyber-bullying behaviors are typically reserved for the teenage “Mean Girls” types -the ones who want to take people down at any cost to make themselves feel better. But today, this behavior is exhibited by adults, and by adults in positions of authority no less. What is one to do when cyberbullying by adults has risen to levels where other adults are committing suicide or having to seek legal representation to combat such immature behavior?

In a recent episode of The Ellen Degeneres Show, Ellen spoke out against the cyber-bullying of Tyler Clementi, a Rutger’s University student who killed himself after his roommate broadcast live images of the 18-year-old having a sexual encounter with another man on the internet, according to campus and law enforcement sources.

In other news, Andrew Shrivell, the assistant attorney general of Michigan, has taken it upon himself to unleash an online rampage against Chris Armstrong. Armstrong is the openly-gay student council president of Michigan University, of which Shrivell is an alumni. Shrivell has drawn swastika’s on Armstrong’s face online and has gone as far as to stalk him outside of his home. The two will face off in court on Monday as Armstrong is seeking a protective order against Shrivell.

Instances such as this are baffling to most mature adults. However, reality is that cyber-bullying isn’t just child’s play. There are some tips you can follow if your or someone you know is a victim of cyber-bullying.

1. Don’t engage in an online battle. If you are the victim of cyber-bullying, do not forward the hateful emails, posts, etc. This only fuels the bullying fire.

2. Tell them to stop. Send an email requesting the person stop the online harassment. Inform them that failure to do so will result in you informing law enforcement of harassment. This step is often most difficult; however, it is important to let professionals deal with the problem. Do not name-call or engage in any immature behavior no matter how tempting it is. Ask them to stop and do so in writing so you have record of the conversation.

3. Report the harassment. If you make a request for the harassment to stop and it doesn’t, it is time to inform your local police department. Let them know you are being harassed. There is likely little they will do, but at least you will have a record of the harassment in case the issue does escalate.