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Education The Internet

Classroom Bullies On The Internet 599

peter303 writes "Oldtimers are familiar with sociopaths in usenet newsgroups and chat rooms. The NY Times has an article about grade school kids who bully on the Internet. These include message bombing and slanderous web pages. The web allows one to extend bad manners from real life."
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Classroom Bullies On The Internet

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  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:24AM (#10079373) Homepage Journal
    Size doesn't matter on the internet. Physical bulk is only good for slamming a fist down on the keyboard in frustration. Numbers help, if you're trying to spam or text message someone (but only those clever enough can get away with it with anonymity. If you're the skinny little runt or the ugly kid always picked on, the internet can even the odds in harrassing back. Best not to pick fights with girls, either, as they fight meaner than boys.

    Haven't seen it yet, but will probably at some point, the following bumpersticker phrase:

    my k1d 0wns y0ur k1d'5 c0mput3r
    • by eln ( 21727 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:27AM (#10079430) Homepage
      I do believe you'd get your ass kicked for having a bumper sticker like that.

      So is this the reason why people seem to be so much more rude on the Internet? Is it geeks getting out their pent-up aggression from being picked on all the time in the real world? Is it people taking their anger at that asshole who cut them off on the way to work out on the faceless masses on the Internet?

      Besides, if you believe that size doesn't matter on the Internet, you clearly haven't been getting the same kind of email I've been getting.
      • by Mr. Bad Example ( 31092 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:30AM (#10079476) Homepage
        > So is this the reason why people seem to be so much more rude on the Internet?

        I think it's mostly that people don't have to deal with real-world consequences. You can say things in text to people that would get your face beaten in if you said them in person.
        • by Trigun ( 685027 ) <evil@evilempireP ... cx minus painter> on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:34AM (#10079534)
          Oh fuck off. Like that happens. If I ever run into you on the street, I'm going to make you eat those words.
        • by Chemisor ( 97276 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @12:22PM (#10080145)
          > I think it's mostly that people don't have to deal
          > with real-world consequences. You can say things
          > in text to people that would get your face beaten
          > in if you said them in person.

          We can learn from this. If you could beat up rude people in real life, there would be a lot fewer of them. Sleazy newspaper reporters, lying used car salesmen, and dishonest politicians will disappear practically overnight if one were to abolish the first amendment for everybody. These days the first amendment is abolished only for honest people who are not allowed to talk about dangerous subjects at work [yahoo.com] or protest peacefully on the grass in New York [yahoo.com]
        • by wolenczak ( 517857 ) <paco AT cotera DOT org> on Thursday August 26, 2004 @12:37PM (#10080305) Homepage
          While in highschool back in 1995 a kid was spoofing my account and abusing some root exploits, it was a VT100 console, by that time every computer at the lab had an static IP address that matched a number written on sticker in the screen. Got his IP address, took a look at who was at the computer, and literaly I walk towards him, grabbed him from the neck and kicked his ass out of the lab.

          I was prohibited to enter the lab for the rest of the term, but he was kicked out of school.
          • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 26, 2004 @02:08PM (#10081280)
            A little twist here...

            I was prohibited to enter the lab for the rest of the term, but he was kicked out of school.

            Basically, the kid doing the hacking got no punshment but the violence (you) was dealt with harshly.

            I see the same exact thing with my kids in school. My kids get picked on (as do many other kids). Some examples.. some kids forcably took my sons MP3 player from him and would not give it back, eventually they did but the headphones were broke. They took his shoe and pulled the laces out, stuck gum in his hair etc... For a 12 year old, that type of abuse is hard to handle. He refused to get up in the morning, did not want to go to school, claimed he was sick etc.. After numerous attempts of my trying to deal with the situation in a logical and mature manner by dealing with the guidance office abd principal, absolutely nothing had changed. Finally at a conference with the prinicipal and my son, I told my son to get out of his seat from the bus, calmly walk up to the offender and punch the SOB right in the face as hard as he could and if the kid got up, do it again in the stomache or in the nuts by any means possible. I had to resort to barbaric fighting to solve my sons emotional stress. The principal bluntly stated that he was going to put that in his record that I stated that and if anything like that happened, my son would be immediately expelled and charged. Funny how the school can allow and do nothing about any amount of mental abuse but physical abuse is dealt with immediately. I do not really know how they can deal with mental abuse issues but neither did they. After attempting to resolve the situation I finally provided my own a method that I know would work. The confidence he gained from that talk and further talks about the subject allowed him to stand up to the groups of kids without actually having to "fight" it out.

            I'm sure many here will never agree to fighting and honestly I do not either but I can tell you the mental abuse a picked on child and their parents have to deal with is 1000x worse then a bully with a bloody nose. It is far better to snap early and use fists then to wait and bottle up the pain until they do something far worse. Too bad the school system does not think that way and could not provide any guidance.
            • by affreca101 ( 573819 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @05:08PM (#10082900)
              Or it trains you to have a thick skin. Thankfully, I am a girl, so escaped most of the physical abuse in middle school, but as a unashamed nerd, I had plenty harassment. I found that nothing offends me now. You can tell me I'm ugly, people hate me, I'm weak.. and I don't care. A "self"-esteem if you will. I had a supportive family, and a big sis who stepped in the only time the abuse got physical. It hurts, but if you support your kids, they are tougher than you give them credit for, so help them with their coping skills before suggesting violence.
        • by blackmonday ( 607916 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @12:50PM (#10080464) Homepage
          Isn't it the same inside a car? It always surprises me how people drive like rude asses, then step out of their car and become normal friendly people again. I'm a nice guy on the road, but it's happened more than once that someone I recognize cuts me off or drives rudely around me - then they recognize me and their face changes. An ashamed smile adorns their face. Strange, I always wanted to see studies on that.

          • by servognome ( 738846 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @01:59PM (#10081210)
            Same happens in a meeting, people can completely pick apart arguements, come up with ways to discredit data, force you into uncomfortable decisions, and be stubbornly antogonistic. But once the meeting is over and you step outside, everybody goes out for beers, talk about your golf game, and play fantasy football
            People are able to compartmentalize and adapt their behavior to differing situations. Business is business, fun is fun, driving is insanity on wheels.
          • by Fulcrum of Evil ( 560260 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @02:27PM (#10081448)

            it's happened more than once that someone I recognize cuts me off or drives rudely around me - then they recognize me and their face changes.

            Might I direct your attention to the greater Internet Fuckwad theory [penny-arcade.com]?

          • by RadagastTheMagician ( 469373 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @02:51PM (#10081735) Homepage
            This was my theory on why driving was so much worse in South Korea (when I was there in 1994) than in the US. Koreans have an extremely strong cultural hierarchy, older being higher, and men above women. In person, the younger (or female) always deferred politely to the older person. But once they get in a car, they automatically assume they have more rank than the next guy, because they can't see his face! and proceed to drive crazily like all others should make way for the King.

            Despite all the race/sex problems in America we really do have a cultural expectation of equality. When we come to a 4-way stop, Americans across the country expects to get their turn regardless of race or sex. My two cents, anyway.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        So is this the reason why people seem to be so much more rude on the Internet? Is it geeks getting out their pent-up aggression from being picked on all the time in the real world? Is it people taking their anger at that asshole who cut them off on the way to work out on the faceless masses on the Internet?

        Gee, fucktard, ya think so?

        (Hmmm, I did check the Post Anonymously box, right?)

      • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:37AM (#10079590) Homepage Journal
        Is it geeks getting out their pent-up aggression from being picked on all the time in the real world?

        This reminds me of my early mudding days, you eventually learned there was safety in numbers and banded with other players. I was pkilled and a friend was also harrassed by the same player, but because I told him about the meanie, he was prepared.

        My nephew, years later, who was a blue belt in Tae Kwon Do and a reasonably bright lad, met with similar disappointments in Ultima Online. Nothing kills player enthusiasm for a game like pkillers who prey on newbies.

      • by bigbigbison ( 104532 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:49AM (#10079723) Homepage
        So is this the reason why people seem to be so much more rude on the Internet?

        I was going to make the joke about only a moron would ask such a stupid question, but I see people beat me to it.

        However, there are a couple reasons why people can be rude on the internet. One is, as others have emtnioned, the anonymity. If you piss people off, you can just go somewhere else. And you can have fun annoying strangers.

        That mainly applies to trolls. But another reaosn why flame wars erupts so easilly is that people are usually at a website or a chat room because of the topic more than the people. Therefore, people are generally interested in information and that mutual interest in technology, or whatever, is the reason they are on the same site, rather than friendship.

        Finally, there is also the fact that a lot of people have poor communication skills and don't put their message across as well and because text is much more limited than face to face communication, subtlties are often lost.

      • I do believe you'd get your ass kicked for having a bumper sticker like that.
        Maybe or maybe not. There are already bumper stickers that say "My kid beat up your honors student," or "As a matter of fact I DO own the whole damn road," or the ever-popular "Eat my shorts."
      • So is this the reason why people seem to be so much more rude on the Internet?

        Personally, I see two phenomena at work:

        One is that the Internet, with its lack of visual feedback, magnifies badness. It's very easy to be perceived as rude when it's just words, without gestures and facial expressions behind them.

        The other is the level of cluelessness that pervades so many forums, and the frustration that arises from such cluelessness. One that came to my attention today was this one [justfuckinggoogleit.com]. Is this bullying? I

      • by AvantLegion ( 595806 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @12:42PM (#10080350) Journal
        So is this the reason why people seem to be so much more rude on the Internet? Is it geeks getting out their pent-up aggression from being picked on all the time in the real world?

        I see you've read Slashdot's mission statement.

      • > So is this the reason why people seem to be so much more rude on the Internet? Is it geeks getting out their pent-up
        > aggression from being picked on all the time in the real world? Is it people taking their anger at that asshole who
        > cut them off on the way to work out on the faceless masses on the Internet?

        All of these phenomena are explained by the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory:

        http://penny-arcade.com/view.php3?date=2004-03-19 [penny-arcade.com]
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 26, 2004 @12:22PM (#10080140)
      Size doesn't matter on the internet. Physical bulk is only good for slamming a fist down on the keyboard in frustration.

      Yes. If "Internet bullying" (sic) is all a child has to worrry about these days, well, frankly, good.

      Physical bullying is hard to ignore; namecalling can be much easier. With the internet and blocking software, it's even easier.

      And besides, over the internet, there's often more time and personal safety to compose that perfect, literate, well-crafted retort. Rather than trying to croak out something smug-sounding while crawling miserably out of a garbage bin.

      I *so* don't miss high school.

      --
      AC
      • by Zibblsnrt ( 125875 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @04:13PM (#10082467)
        Yes. If "Internet bullying" (sic) is all a child has to worrry about these days, well, frankly, good.

        Physical bullying is hard to ignore; namecalling can be much easier. With the internet and blocking software, it's even easier.

        It's more than that. Take the joy of being harassed at school and add to it the fact that you can't even be left alone in the safety of your own house.

        Stick a little fear on top of that - you could compose that perfect, literate, well-crafted retort, but you could also be picking your teeth out of the back of your head by three o'clock the next day should you try it.

        Harassment online isn't "all" a kid on the wrong end of it has to worry about. It doesn't exist in a vacuum, and it wouldn't be happening if there wasn't someone else physically Out There with something out for his target. Especially if you don't have total control over blocking or tracking things, it's one more refuge snipped out from under the victim - one they can fight back in a lot more easily, it's true, but not without risking the same sort of stuff as though they'd mouthed off to someone twice their size in person.

        -PS

      • by Frank T. Lofaro Jr. ( 142215 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @05:39PM (#10083153) Homepage

        I *so* don't miss high school.

        Things really don't change much as an adult. Now bullies don't beat you up, they just try to get you fired, fire you on false pretexts, talk behind you back and try to get people to turn on you, etc. All the nonsense that went on in high school still does in the adult world, it just takes on a more adult form. More subtle, but the stakes are higher.

  • Old story (Score:5, Insightful)

    by n9uxu8 ( 729360 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:24AM (#10079384) Homepage
    The journalists drag up this dreck every year or whenever there is a school "incident". dave
  • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:24AM (#10079386)
    A lot of this story was about moronic kids taking pornographic pictures of themselves or friends and it quickly circulating. No fucking way, porn, spreading fast on the Internet? Who would have thought!

    But a growing number of teenagers are learning the hard way that words sent into cyberspace can have more severe consequences than a telephone conversation or a whispered confidence. As ephemeral as they seem, instant messages (better known as I.M.'s) form a written record often wielded as a potent weapon for adolescent betrayal and torment.

    NOTHING is worse than the fucking "telephone game". Story starts innocuous enough about Timmy getting reprimanded by the Gym teacher and ends up into some outlandish bullshit about Timmy getting his cock sucked by the male Gym teacher for missing a basket during an important shot in a worthless game during class.

    Yeah I suppose the written record could be changed to make people more and more guilty looking but it's most likely getting circulated in tact (I know how stuff is copy/pasted between AIM windows). If the girl said some racial epitaph and it got spread over AIM and her school suggested she leave so be it. She probably lucked out better than if it had been said verbally and stretched...

    Kids should be taught the same things we preach... Do not allow anyone to contact you on AIM unless they are on your buddy list or at the very least have it prompt you if you don't have them on your list. At least they can't won't get to fill up your SMS inbox with messages about your stupid behavior.

    Have some common sense and don't post pictures of yourself masturbating, don't send messages about how you think of someone else, and don't allow yourself to be video taped by other kids doing sexual things with others.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:28AM (#10079448)
      People are getting stupider.

      You know, the internet has been around for awhile now and it's only in the last four to six years that people have become increasingly stupid and juvenile. The problem is not the medium. The problem is the peopel using it. They'd cause trouble and be whiny thin-skinned twits no matter what the medium was. If not the internet, it would be elsewhere. When I was in school, there were only BBSes and a few years later, the internet sort of started becoming a bigger deal as dial-up sprang up here and there.

      It's sad to see how pathetic the state of affairs is today. And the problem is not the internet, but the children and parents who treat it like it's a fucking McDonald's Playland. It reminds me of that terrible Comcast commercial I've seen a few times where an internet instructor named "Professor Web" is telling students to "stomp around the internet with reckless abondon"... AS IF IT'S A GOOD THING.
      • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:55AM (#10079809) Homepage Journal
        People weren't any smarter back then.

        Just less numerous and more technically apt.
      • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Thursday August 26, 2004 @12:00PM (#10079869) Homepage Journal
        People are getting stupider.

        People are NOT getting stupider!

        You know, the internet has been around for awhile now and it's only in the last four to six years that people have become increasingly stupid and juvenile.

        Did it ever occur to you that the internet, anonymity of postings, etc. brings out peoples truer nature? I wish I could point to one of the studies on this, but conclusions are that people communicate much more than they used to (notice all the people jawing on cellphones while they drive, which they couldn't do a couple decades ago without a fat wad of cash, IIRC cell phones were invented in 1948, but few could afford this luxury) the more they communicate the more deeper they dig into their thoughts, reveal more of their character. Typing is more congnitive process than speech, as you can backspace over and otherwise edit your thoughts to make a point more clearly. Beyond the words there's the behaviour, how often do you communicate, to what do you respond, how do you respond, etc.

        In short, people aren't more stupid, they're simply revealing the stupidity that's always been there.

      • People aren't getting stupider, it's just that as the entry level for getting on to the Internet (intelligence wise more so than money wise) is getting lower and lower, so more stupid people are getting on the bus. As the ratio of stupid to intellegent rises, the signal to noise ratio falls.
    • If the girl said some racial epitaph and it got spread over AIM and her school suggested she leave so be it.

      I had no idea that AIM is heaving with cadavers...

    • by GoofyBoy ( 44399 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:32AM (#10079500) Journal
      >Have some common sense and don't post pictures of yourself masturbating, don't send messages about how you think of someone else, and don't allow yourself to be video taped by other kids doing sexual things with others.

      I, as a mature and responsible member of society, am shocked that they were doing this ... for FREE.

      Do you know how much money they could have gotten if they that set up a pay-site and charged $19.99 per month (first 7 days free)?!?!?!

      I fear for our future.
    • by adamh526 ( 725423 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:34AM (#10079538)
      Have some common sense and don't post pictures of yourself masturbating, don't send messages about how you think of someone else, and don't allow yourself to be video taped by other kids doing sexual things with others.

      This should be obvious, but a technical communications professor I once had always said that when you're sending (even private) electronic communications, assume everybody in the world is going to see/read it, ESPECIALLY people you wouldn't want to.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:36AM (#10079561)
      ...Have some common sense...

      Good job! You just figured out the solution to 97% of all teenagers' problems! Now that the theoretical framework is laid out, implementation should be a snap!

    • by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:57AM (#10079835) Homepage Journal
      Have some common sense and don't post pictures of yourself masturbating, don't send messages about how you think of someone else, and don't allow yourself to be video taped by other kids doing sexual things with others.

      The problem is that kids don't have the same amount of life experience. Sure, it stands to reason to most of us here that it would be a bad idea to take a picture of your boner with a camera phone and send it to a couple of girls that you know. I did a lot of dumb shit when I was 14. I wasn't dumb enough to send naked pictures of myself to anyone, but people still laugh at a couple of the idiotic things that I did 15 years ago.

      This life experience causes me to be even more careful about the dumb shit that I consider doing today.

      LK
    • NOTHING is worse than the fucking "telephone game". Story starts innocuous enough about Timmy getting reprimanded by the Gym teacher and ends up into some outlandish bullshit about Timmy getting his cock sucked by the male Gym teacher for missing a basket during an important shot in a worthless game during class.

      TIMMY!

      TIMMY!

      TIMMMMY!

      Cartman: Shut up, ya retard!

      RS

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:24AM (#10079387)
    In fact, I would say that Katie is a sociopath, as well.

    I assume the Slashdot crowd doesn't need to be reminded that this is the same "Parry Aftab" and WiredSaftey.org program as pushed by the trampy little "Katie" of "Katie.com" domain theft fame from a couple weeks ago. The same girl that was stupid enough to get herself involved with a 40 year old man alone in his hotel room and then tried to extort an innocent woman out of her legitimately held domain name all under the guise of "I'm a stupid twit and made a bad choice when I was a teenager and now I'm going to spend the rest of my life trying to milk it for every dime I possibly can".

    Parry Aftab, Katie and the whole lot are a bunch of fucking twits. They see problems where none exist and blame everyone else in the world for their own personal failures of choice and behavior. God I can't fucking STAND these idiots and I can't believe Slashdot is now "promoting" news for the same twat that we were flaming the hell out of a short time ago.

    But it did not end there. As soon as Amanda got home, the instant messages started popping up on her computer screen. She was a tattletale and a liar, they said. Shaken, she typed back, "You stole my stuff!" She was a "stuck-up bitch," came the instant response in the box on the screen, followed by a series of increasingly ugly epithets.

    Oh, boo fucking hoo. Don't give people you don't like your instant messaging name, then. Or rather than engaging in petty arguing, sign off. Or block them. What does it take to warn or block someone on AIM? Two or three button clicks? For fuck's sake, it's a few mean words on a computer - it's not like these "bullies" are shoving broomhandles up their "victims" asses.

    It's one thing for kids to be whiney little thin-skinned shits, but it's another for the lawyer - Parry Aftab, Wired and that Katie bitch to make big bank going around promoting these social rejects. These retards that can't back down from confrontation by doing the obvious - like blocking people in AIM or simply grow up and deal with the fact that not everyone is going to like you and sometimes your feelings will be hurt.

    This story just makes me want to puke, as do those who are clearly exploiting the "THINK OF THE CHILDREN!" angle of it. Also - just because you're a porky fuck who almost got herself raped in a hotel by a man three times her age (where the fuck were your parents?!) doesn't make you an "expert". That's like saying that junkies are experts on drugs. Just because you inject a bunch of drugs into your veins doesn't make you an expert about them anymore than driving a car makes me a mechanic - and in the same way, being a stupid twat that makes herself a perfect "victim" doesn't make you any more an expert on these things.

    For instance, last spring, when an eighth-grade girl at Horace Mann School in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, sent a digital video of herself masturbating to a male classmate on whom she had a crush, it quickly appeared on a file-sharing network that teenagers use to trade music. Hundreds of New York private school students saw the video, in which the girl's face was clearly visible, and it was available to a worldwide audience of millions.

    What the fuck? If a thirteen year old kid is stupid enough to videotape herself masturbating and send it to a classmate, she DESERVES for it to be spread around the school and to be humiliated for it. Sometimes there is a price to pay for being a fucking moron. And the persons with the social and mental problems aren't the people who harass or humiliate her for it - it's the girl who has such a fucking warped brain that she thinks passing around videos of herself with her fingers or a dildo in her pre-pubescent snatch is the way to win over a boyfriend. That kid needs to be sent to a fucking boarding school and undergo major psychotherapy.

    This whole fucking article is one tale after another of stupid kids doing stupid things and then running to mommy and getting sympathetic attention when it comes time to pay for their stupid actions. God forbid people learn from mistakes by paying for them.
    • Yes. As soon as I saw the name Parry Aftab in the linked article, I stopped reading. Her threats toward the owner of katie.com were unacceptable.

      Bullying by lawyers is no more pleasant than bullying by schoolchildren.
    • by Morpeth ( 577066 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @12:40PM (#10080334)
      How about a little compassion? Yes, some of the things kids in there were simply stupid - but you know what, I'm betting you were pretty much an idiot and far from level-headed at 13 or so too - like most of us were. I know I sure as hell didn't think all that clearly at that age.

      As adults I think we tend to get so jaded and so quick to judge. Kids at that age aren't as thick skinned as adults, teasing, name calling, gossiping is very painful at adolescene. Go ahead and saw "awwwww..." all you want, I'd rather show a little kindness that turn the kid in a angry, repressed, beaten down sociopath.

      "she DESERVES for it to be spread around the school and to be humiliated for it.... stupid kids doing stupid things and then running to mommy and getting sympathetic attention when it comes time to pay for their stupid actions"

      I'm REALLY glad you weren't my parent, and I hope you aren't anyone's parent. I made some mistakes as a kid - but you know what my parents did - made damn sure I learned from it while ALSO being supportive and understanding, like a good parent should; not berating me and ranting b/c they were pissed off, unsympathetic, cynical adults.

      • by gosand ( 234100 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @01:07PM (#10080663)
        How about a little compassion? Yes, some of the things kids in there were simply stupid - but you know what, I'm betting you were pretty much an idiot and far from level-headed at 13 or so too - like most of us were. I know I sure as hell didn't think all that clearly at that age.

        Hey, how about showing a little compassion to the boy who received the video? What would YOU have done at 14 if some girl sent you a video of herself masturbating? You probably would have shown it to your friends too. HE made a dumb mistake, just like SHE did. You can't just show compassion for one side.

        See, I am all for showing compassion. One of the best books I have ever read is "The Art of Happiness" by the Dalai Lama. Now there is someone who practices what he preaches.

        How about showing some compassion to this girl by NOT teaching her to sue when she is wronged. How about teaching HER about compassion. How about teaching the boy about compassion. I am not involved in this stupid fiasco, so my having a compassionate opinion isn't going to do shit.

        You have to be held accountable for your own actions. This girl freely distributed a video of herself - hey, that's life. I am not going to blame her parents, because kids will do dumb things. But her parents should step up and refuse to sue other people for something her kid did on her own. Learn from it, move on.

  • by YankeeInExile ( 577704 ) * on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:24AM (#10079388) Homepage Journal

    Scene - a high school girl complaining to her guidance counselor...

    • Student: I was online last night, and somebody said I was fat.
    • Counselor:I see.
    • Student:And they wanted to know why I wear the same pair of jeans eve ry day.
    • Counselor:How cruel.
    • Student:And how I have Wal-Mart clothes.
    • Counselor:Well, in that case, I reccomend you study computers. That way when you graduate, you can go online, and it won't matter if you're fat and wear the same Wal-Mart jeans every day for a year, you will still be the hottest chick that any of the other geeks in your university can get, and they will lavish you with attention. And, in a fitting turnaround, THEY will do YOUR homework.
    • Scene - a high school girl complaining to her guidance counselor...

      * Student: I was online last night, and somebody said I was fat.
      * Counselor:I see.
      * Student:And they wanted to know why I wear the same pair of jeans eve ry day.
      * Counselor:How cruel.
      * Student:And how I have Wal-Mart clothes.
      * Counselor:Well, in that case, I reccomend you study computers. That way when you graduate, you can go online, and it won't matter if you're fat and wear the same Wal-Mart jeans every day
  • by Skyshadow ( 508 ) * on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:25AM (#10079400) Homepage
    I guess that explains this text message I just got from the sales dept. demanding my lunch money.

    Remember kids: Violence isn't the answer, but a good command of Tae Kwon Do sure lets you keep your stuff.

  • Heh (Score:5, Informative)

    by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:26AM (#10079419) Homepage Journal
    Kids may want to watch that they don't piss off the wrong person on the internet.
    In Japan a girl slit the throat of another girl over insulting comments made over the internet. [bbc.co.uk]
  • The internet, instant messaging, and webpages are just new methods of delivering content. Why would we expect new media to have different content than previous media? It'd be like creating a new type or method of picture creation and then being surprised when someone uses it to show pr0n.

    Bullies bully in real life. Bullies are going to bully on the internet.
  • by grunt107 ( 739510 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:28AM (#10079449)
    Is the knee-jerk response to control iNet content. ("If we stop 'x' from getting anywhere, we send a message to the bullies")

    Bullies are a part of society and are everywhere - even to the point of Bully Countries (someday: Bully Planets).

    Take the power away. Write a reverse contactor to send bullyx a magnitude reply (you send 1, I send 10). Better yet, trap the messages and post them on a website to show the pure idiocy of the bully.
  • bah (Score:5, Funny)

    by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld.gmail@com> on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:30AM (#10079470) Homepage
    When I want to hurt someone emotionally I just write a slanderous mambo about them.
  • Want proof? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BCW2 ( 168187 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:30AM (#10079472) Journal
    Just read the comments at /.! About a third would probably qualify and three quarters of the political comments and moderation fit that definition.
  • by Keebler71 ( 520908 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:31AM (#10079494) Journal
    Butis all this on-line activity just a gateway activity to the harder stuff like becoming a Slashdot troll?
  • Hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by numbski ( 515011 ) * <numbski AT hksilver DOT net> on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:33AM (#10079513) Homepage Journal
    Granted, things will have probably changed by the time I have a child old enough to be dealing with anything like this (there seems to be a long history of 'geeks' in my family, my father was an electrician, my grandfather was a chemist, etc), but if I were a parent now, here's what I would probably do:

    Find the offending username/ip.
    Move them off of whatever IM client they're using now.

    Put them on something a bit more intelligent, my weapon of choice would be centericq [konst.org.ua], but anything that will allow you to do some scripting will work.

    Set up an auto-reply to that user. Auto-block that user. Heck, grab the IP address, nmap, and script-kiddie a shutdown of that IP. Doesn't matter, but you ARE empowered as a parent to stop this sort of thing.

    Granted, not all parents are as geeky as we are. There should be a basic 'block username' and 'block from IP address' function in an IM client, no?
    • Got a Better Answer (Score:5, Interesting)

      by virg_mattes ( 230616 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @12:46PM (#10080401)
      I have a better answer for the abuse, if it gets bad enough to be affecting your child that strongly. Find out the screen names/IM handles in question. Ask your child to find out who they are in real life. Print out the offending messages on real paper. Mail them to the parents of the children in question. Sure, you'll find some parents who won't care, but the vast majority of people will respond to this by confronting their kids with the evidence. These kids will back off fast when they realize that the stuff they say online can find its way back to mom and dad.

      Virg
  • Any sort of bully (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ignignot ( 782335 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:33AM (#10079520) Journal
    Is just a coward who thinks there can be no retribution for their actions. Then they go and try to demonstrate their power by doing bad things. Oftentimes social outcasts are targetted (like nerds) because they have few friends to draw support on to provoke a response against the bully. That these same victims are then turning around and doing the same thing online saddens me; it reminds me of people who are still steamed over a few childish words or actions from their pre-college days. In either case some bullies have managed to have a large affect on the person's life, and other people's lives through them. Chances are that by the time they're in their twenties, someone who was a bully in high school has either repented his actions or matured to the point where they would no longer even think of pushing someone around. Some of their victims, OTOH, will still have the persecuted mentality. You'll feel a lot better if you simply forgive people who did you wrong as children. The forgiveness isn't for them, it is for you.
    • Re:Any sort of bully (Score:4, Interesting)

      by blamanj ( 253811 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:47AM (#10079700)
      What you say is true, but I think there is legitimage reason for concern. Consider the multiplying power of the computer.

      Back in the old days, bullying had to be one on one, or the by the people the bully talked to. With text messaging and the Internet, you have broadcast and publishing capabilities in the hands of the bully. In the "real world", that's when things like libel laws come into play.

      While I'm not in favor of bringing lawyers into grade schools, this kind of difference has to be considered. As a parallel, consider how much damage a disaffected teen can do alone, vs. how much a disaffected scriptkiddy can do.
  • by word munger ( 550251 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .regnumsd.> on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:34AM (#10079541) Homepage Journal
    Horace Mann, one of the schools used in the examples, is where I did my student teaching, many moons ago. It is one of the most prestigious private schools in the nation. This was pre-IM, pre-Web, and the students were just about as mean to each other in person as they were online.
  • by Tyrdium ( 670229 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:35AM (#10079544) Homepage
    Seriously, most of the students described in that article were just fscking morons. Sending pornographic material to a hormonal teenager and not expecting it to be distributed? Hell, even if it were analog, it'd probably get around (i.e., photocopier)! If you take nude pictures or whatever of yourself, give it to someone, and expect it to not be distributed... I mean, really, that's just pitiful. As for the cyber-harrasment, that's what the ignore button is for! Use it!
  • Excellent (Score:4, Informative)

    by Le Marteau ( 206396 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:35AM (#10079546) Journal
    I think that's great. The sooner kids realize how f***ed up the American ethos is, and that the American mythos is in fact insane, the sooner they'll get to working on going beyond it. Instead of the little conformists becoming adult conformists, perhaps the brutality of their peers will cause them to begin to question societal norms, and begin to think for themselves.

    I was taunted brutally as a kid, and I consider it a blessing. I am a much better man because of it.

    • Re:Excellent (Score:5, Informative)

      by wwest4 ( 183559 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @12:04PM (#10079909)
      > perhaps the brutality of their peers will cause them to begin to question
      > societal norms, and begin to think for themselves.

      First, this phenomenon is not unique to the "American ethos" (talk about a moving conceptual target). Second, there must be a better way than trial by fire... because I would wager that for every person who emerges stronger from brutal abuse, there is at least one other who emerges completely screwed up, or worse, indoctrinated into the cycle of abuse, ready to bully someone else when the time comes (i.e. when they have smaller friends, siblings, kids, or a spouse).

      How about teaching our kids how not to bully, protecting them from others who do bully, and providing the opportunity for treatment of those who exhibit bullying behavior? This goes regardless of the medium - physical or verbal abuse can both be devastating to a vulnerable person.

      • Re:Excellent (Score:5, Interesting)

        by HarveyBirdman ( 627248 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @12:30PM (#10080232) Journal
        That's me. I'm the other one, I was basically an outcast in school. I'm a complete misanthrope who wishes an asteroid would hit the Earth. I'm financially successful, but I can never trust anyone enought to make a lasting friendship because my worst torment came from people who claimed to be friends. As far as I'm concerned, humanity is a vast failure and the sooner it vanishes, the better.

        And it doesn't end as you enter adulthood, not if you really look at things. People are the same approval seeking, filthy conformist fuckers from the time their baby brains become fully wired until the day they die. Nothing changes. The only reason most stop pulling bullshit after age 18 is because their asses can be sued or arrested.

        Just look at Bush and Kerry, two alleged pinnacles of achievement (presidential candidates). A couple bullies slinging mud and trailing a wake of sycophants behind them. Just like high school. Nothing changes. Nothing matures. The only advancements in civilization are technological improvements and once in a while someone gets and idea that manages to stick (like a Constitution).

        • Re:Excellent (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Hentai ( 165906 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @12:38PM (#10080311) Homepage Journal
          ... until said idea gets perverted into a tool of abuse rather than the template of liberty it was designed as.

          I've had very similar experiences, myself. A big part of the problem, I've noticed, is that people refuse to accept that they're doing it - they have any number of bullshit rationalizations for what they're doing, when really they're just letting the baser parts of their brain dictate behavior. Fundamentally, people are bullies and sycophants because that's what feeds our lower neural wiring - just look at most other primate species if you don't believe me.

          And people *DON'T* stop pulling bullshit after age 18, they just learn better and more 'acceptable' ways to do it - things like stealing office supplies and framing you for it, filing spurrious sexual harrassment lawsuits against people they don't like, or claiming date rape against someone who wasn't even at the party.

          People are dicks. Congratulations for being able to realize it and say it; you're head and shoulders above the rest of the monkeys.
  • Obligatory link... (Score:3, Informative)

    by lawpoop ( 604919 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:42AM (#10079629) Homepage Journal
    Link to cover story. [realsms.be]

    Not karma whoring!

  • bizarre (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MORTAR_COMBAT! ( 589963 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:47AM (#10079704)
    one piece in the article details how an 8th grade girl's masturbation video gets circulated on the internet after she sent it to a boy she had a crush on.

    8th graders are what, 14 years old?

    guess what -- that's kiddie porn, folks, and the people doing both the circulation and the viewing are committing crimes with pretty harsh punishments. and according to the article, using school computers to do it.
    • Re:bizarre (Score:4, Interesting)

      by radish ( 98371 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @12:19PM (#10080119) Homepage
      What's even more insteresting is that the girl in question is both the victim and the first offender. She made the video, she was the first to distribute it.
      • Re:bizarre (Score:4, Interesting)

        by lostPackets ( 598793 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @01:55PM (#10081168)
        There was actually a legal case close to me (Pittsburgh) where an underage girl was arrested and charged with distributing child pornography after posting naked pictures of herself.

        I believe the charges were dropped but I'm not certain.

        This leads to a while (off topic) ugly serious of questions. Cases like the above were obviously not how child pornography laws were intended. My understanding is that the intention is to protect children from sexual predators exploiting them. How does the inscreasing ability of children to "publish" on their own, combined with earlier sexual activity affect this?

        While it's idiotic, I certianly don't think that a 14 y/o should be criminally liable for a picture/video another 14 y/o sends him.

        Thoughts?
    • Re:bizarre (Score:3, Interesting)

      by GlassHeart ( 579618 )
      Given that the victim actively shot the video and distributed it, she may have a tougher legal battle...

      ...than if she just sued them all for copyright infringement. These days I understand it carries the death penalty.

  • by Asprin ( 545477 ) <gsarnold&yahoo,com> on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:49AM (#10079728) Homepage Journal

    You see, folks! Clifford Stoll is right [amazon.com]! Computers in the classroom are not only an unnecessary and useless distraction, but now they are probably also a serious legal liability.

    Please, for the sake of the children, start by unplugging the computers and networks and teach them how to use books again.

    /Seriously considering changing my last name to "Luddite"
  • by chickygrrl ( 260785 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @11:51AM (#10079755) Homepage
    "When you say things over the Internet, it feels like you are spewing into your diary,"

    Um, not really. I've never felt like anything posted online has been secret in any way at all; even your average Barnes & Noble journal/diary isn't safe from prying eyes if someone has any idea that it exists. It's more like you think that if you believe it's hidden well enough, no one will find it. I've made the mistake of believing that my family wasn't tech-savvy enough to google me and that my boss didn't read my site and as a consequence, I've lost a job, a cousin browsing webcam sites found pictures of me back in my camwhoring days, and my father hasn't spoken to me in over two years.
  • MMORPGs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRealFixer ( 552803 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @12:00PM (#10079860)
    I play a little bit of Star Wars: Galaxies, and it's facinating to watch the online bully mentality, and how it develeops. On our server, there's an entire guild who prides themselves on ruining everyone elses fun. They are the self-declared alpha-bullies of the game. Recently, someone (either a disgruntled former "insider" or a victim who had had enough of the harassment... no one knows for sure) got ahold of account logins and passwords of several of their members and started deleting their characters. It's now escalated into full-blown harassment, posting personal information (including SS#s) in live chat, and threats of violence in real life. All over a series of tables and fields in a database somewhere.

    Some say that online life is a mask people can wear to be someone else. I'm more inclined to believe it's a magnifying glass which can amplify the worst qualities in someone.
    • I'm more inclined to believe it's a magnifying glass which can amplify the worst qualities in someone.

      That's funny. That's my definition of marriage.
  • by Flower ( 31351 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @12:40PM (#10080335) Homepage
    The web allows one to extend bad manners from real life.

    peter303, you must be new here.

  • Bullies and Victims (Score:5, Interesting)

    by crem_d_genes ( 726860 ) * on Thursday August 26, 2004 @12:46PM (#10080403)
    In one model - there are 4 groups in the *bully/victim* scenario:
    1. *Bullies* - who repeatedly make some sort of attack on someone who is (for some reason or another) unable to defend against it (an *asymmetric* relationship).
    2. *Passive victims* - who usually don't provoke the bully, they might just be different - or weak - or handicapped - or smart - or not something...
    3. *Active Victims* - who tend to be very good at getting under someone's skin - either by the way they say things (perhaps they have a great way to humiliate someone verbally) - but they usually end up seen as the ultimate victim. If you trace things back, active victims look a lot like bullies, but in a different way. They often blame others with a type of rapid revisionist history of events.
    4. *Bystanders* - they tend to *normalize* what is accepted in the social setting - so what might be considered bullying by one group, might be considered *normal* by another - which is one reason why you can talk to a teenager all day about not bullying, and they have one view of what that means and sending a *mean IM* probably isn't going to be it, unless that child identifies themselves themselves as the victim.

    On a related note - however kids define bullying, more than half say they have been both victims and bullies in different situations, and like all models - the *4 groups* listed above is just a handy way to help some get a handle on the way many situations play out.
  • by goofy183 ( 451746 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @12:56PM (#10080545)
    It makes a lot of people a feeling of power.

    I remember helping a friend prove that the harrasing emails that his sister was recieving were coming from someone in the area. There was another girl that the school who was suspected of the emails but the fake contact info for the hotmail account was from the other side of the country. Luckly at that time hotmail correctly included the IP of the machine the person was logged in from in the email headers (not sure if they still do) and it was fairly simple to trace back to a general location. When confronted that the emails were coming from somewhere in the town and the ISP would look up the account info for us she confesed.

    The idea is the same then as it is now, the kid feels like they can say what they want and get away with it. Fortunatly most don't really know how to be anonymous online so finding the source via your local geek isn't too difficult.
  • The Diamond Age (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GMFTatsujin ( 239569 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @01:09PM (#10080681) Homepage
    A weird but sensible juxtaposition in Stephenson's book, The Diamond Age, was the resurgent dominance of Victorian-era tropes in the upper classes. The society emphasized self-discipline, a strict code of manners and interaction, and the importance of constant vigilance toward one's appearance in public and private alike.

    The reason for this throwback was in part that survelliance technology had miniturized and infiltrated to the point that any given surface could house cameras and transmitters that could not be traced if they were even noticed. Therefore, keeping a strict code of bahavior was neccesary at all times to deny the possibility of a smear campaign, blackmail, or other possible stigma.

    The online bullies scenario brings Stephenson's vision to my mind. Maybe it's time to recognize that anything recorded will probably get around at some point. And it's easier to record than you think.

    Kids, pay attention: Maybe it's a stupid idea to masturbate into your webcam and then email the movie to anybody. Email gets around. It's the new STD: Sexual Transmission Disease.

    Either that or open up and make accessable DRM techniques to the public.
  • I'll openly admit that I'm in this "age group". I'm 16.

    If my parents knew that I had just told you people my age, my mom at least would completly flip out and be scared that someone is coming to abduct me based on this alias and that age. (But that's a different story. This is /., and I would expect that at least most of you have more common sense than that.)

    I recently had a friend who went point-blank suicidal. I'll refer to him as a he, but note I'm not disclosing that. He threatened that he was both cutting himself and was holding a gun (.45 to be precise, a shotgun) to their head.

    This was told to me over, heh, IM. (Once I realized he was serious, I called the police, meh, that's beside the point.) But, let me comment a bit on this story.

    "I have kids coming into school upset daily because of what happened on the Internet the night before," Ms. Yuratovac said. " 'We were online last night and somebody said I was fat,' or 'They asked me why I wear the same pair of jeans every day,' or 'They say I have Wal-Mart clothes.' "

    *gasp* Let's sit down and think here. Is this really any worse at all than something like this happening in real life? Here's a hint: it's not, it's actually easier to work with than it is in real life. Why is this? It's called the "block" button. Harsh as this may sound, if they sit there and listen to such things, all the while in perfect control and having the ability to change that, then it is in my opinion partially their fault for not clicking the block button and actually dealing with it.

    Amanda has her Internet messages automatically forwarded to her cellphone, and by the end of the game she had received 50 - the limit of its capacity.

    I'm going to assume ICQ or MSN were used for this, which makes it (sending of IMs to a phone) incredibly easy. MSN, it's a matter of right-clicking and hitting 'Sent to mobile device'. ICQ, just check the SMS button.

    The end user is in perfect control of this, should they want this to happen. MSN it's a checkbox in the options to turn it off (which must be turned on in the first place, mind you), and ICQ it's essentially the same thing. There was nothing preventing "Amanda" from not being subjected to this. From this story, everything that happened could have been prevented with about 45 seconds of clicking. (Okay, the exception being things like this [mymmode.com], but again, turn the phone off. There are ways of preventing this. Of course, I really, really would like to see something like an whitelist/blacklist for phone text messages in the future.)

    Some of you may ask why I'm essentially "assulting the abused." I am 16, I do know what it's like when this happens, and I do know that, at times, it can cause things such as counseling, etc. etc. etc. I am not assuming that life is perfect and everyone enjoys a perfect life with no one harassing them.

    It goes back to a point I made earlier: IM is not any different than real life, except in the fact that it's exponentially easier to deal with. It's the internet. If they spam your e-mail, get a new e-mail. Harass you via SMS web-to-phone? Turn it off.

    Then deal with the "offenders" in real life, compared to sitting there and listening.

    Like, duh? Hello? These kids don't need advice on how to stay safe online, they need a reality check. In every scneario described, it could have been changed. You hear stories like this, other /.'ers linking to people commiting suicide as a result of talking on IM to people, but really, sit down, and think. IM is not any different than real life. If someone can convince someone, push some over the edge, over the instant messenger, I shudder to think what that person would be vulnerable to in real life.

    The instant messenger should be considered just as dangerous as real life, at very very most, because you don't have to be there, you have a choice not
  • by myov ( 177946 ) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @02:05PM (#10081258)
    I worked as a technician at a secondary school a few years ago, and ran into this a few times. One time, I remember being called into the vice-principal's office and meeting with a police officer, who actually asked me how to proceed (obviously, this person didn't have any experience with internet investigations - when my experience was that the only group that *can* do anything is the police).

    In any case, I think they knew who it was but were just looking for a way to connect this person to the site, especially when a geocities site can be created anonymously. My knowledge was limited to attempting to get the various logs and tracing through them, and I'm not sure if the police had any internal resources for this type of investigation.

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