• Lillee Jean

Online Bullying: Is Blocking Enough in This Advanced Digital Age? | Lillee Jean | Bullyish 2022

There is a very clear difference between stalking vs. bullying, bullying vs. harassment, and trolling vs. tormenting.

Online Bullying: Is Blocking Enough in This Advanced Digital Age? | Lillee Jean | Bullyish
Online Bullying: Is Blocking Enough in This Advanced Digital Age? | Lillee Jean | Bullyish

While all of the above are terrible, there is a distinct difference between them.

Someone who might troll online, for example, possesses the characteristics of someone who is lonely and seeks approval from others, and, is capable of tormenting the victim for a period of 1-5 months. A stalker, however, has a deeper psychosis. They crave to be known, yet not known, and their victim is living prey, sometimes for years, and years on end, until the stalker perhaps snaps, and physically does harm. They "own" their victim. A troll, sometimes hired, views it as midnight entertainment, they do take off, some of the time. A stalker? It's a livelihood.


Someone who bullies online tends to act in a childish mannerism with physical characteristics "picked" on i.e. "you're ugly". There is no dedication, it's black-and-white jealousy. Harassment is when the person starts peering into a person's personal life. It's no longer "you're ugly", it becomes a daily circle of trying to torment and damage the person. Whether that be by creating rumors and spreading them daily, or by not leaving the person alone, period.

Blocking

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The reason for explaining these differences is simple. Is blocking really enough in this advanced digital age?

Social media platforms, for example, encourage users to block. So someone called you a name. And? The first step is to block, and never respond.


It is worth it to mention, a one-time offender tends to go away. They're not a stalker, because you were called a name, once. When the line is crossed where harassment, targeted pain, and torment continue, you now have a cyberstalking issue.

However, social platforms lack accountability for one uncomplicated thing. The bulk of online bullying tends to become online harassment, in which the attacker creates multiple profiles to continue the isolated torment. You can block, sure. Even report, sure. The problem arises when you, the user, are suddenly overwhelmed and have no resources or tools at your disposal.


In my opinion, when social media platforms allow you to block someone that's it. No matter what account they create, it should automatically block the location.


Blocking Only Goes So Far

In example:

If Katherine (assumed), is being bullied on YouTube by an anonymous account, Katherine should have the right to block that account.


This is true. She can block the account. However, Katherine lacks the right to several important things:

  • The attacker can still see her content;

  • The attacker can still create multiple accounts to torment her;

  • The attacker can still threaten Katherine, thus affecting her mental health. Part of online bullying is the bravado and fear-creating tactics.

What I feel About This

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I truly feel social platforms must do better to protect the rights of the victims, more so than ever. They socially have an influence on our lives, and thus with that social commitment comes a social responsibility to provide proper tools for victims. Especially in America, England, Canada, Australia, and even Germany where cyber laws do exist, and, are enforced, it's vital to advocate for this change.


It is a fact that too many youths have committed suicide as a result of the never-ending harassment bubble that develops on social media. It is common for tormentors to work in groups of three to five to accomplish their mission. The reason why? Sometimes, just for pure "fun", at the stake of another's quality of life.


Having a block in place isn't enough, and platforms need to work on enforcing a stronger block, so, that multiple fake accounts cannot be created in aid to online stalking. There is, of course, a way to remedy this by verifying each account with a state identification card. This takes the guesswork out of a victim's fear: who is doing this to me? It gives the victim their power back to legally remedy arisen pain.


Especially when children are at stake, as well as adults, it's important to speak out.


Ending Thoughts

It's important to even if you think something is "small" file a police report with your local station. If your county doesn't have a "cyber law", or maybe doesn't know how to address things, other laws can be applied such as if someone mails you something, but, orders it in your name (identity theft), such as if someone sends death threats (safety, privacy), and such as if you receive hate such as antisemitism, and racism. Reporting leaves a trail. Nobody is anonymous online.


Examples of Governments Taking a Stand:

Canada

"Cyberbullying hurts other people, and can change lives. Some of the actions taken when cyberbullying occurs can also be against the law. Cyberbullies can face jail time, have their devices taken away, and may even have to pay their victims." - Government of Canda (319)


Australia

"If someone is threatening bullying or harassing you on-line, police want to know about it. You don’t have to put up with it and police can take action. On-line bullies think they can be anonymous but police can track them down. That’s why it is important to inform police about what’s happening. While there is no specific legislation in Australia that is specifically for cyber-bullying, there are existing laws police can use to arrest and charge perpetrators." Australia NSW


Germany

"It is important to prevent cyberbullying and online violence. Especially in serious cases, this may also include criminal sanctions in regard to certain forms of conduct. However, the phenomena of cyberbullying and online violence cannot be addressed by criminal law alone, but also require preventive measures and the raise of awareness in society." https://www.coe.int/en/web/cyberviolence/germany

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