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December 16, 2007

Digital Bullying [2:04 pm]

Megan Meier, adolescence and online anonymity, revisited: When the Bullies Turned Faceless

In some ways, the hoax was a tragic oddity. Most mothers don’t pull vicious pranks, and few harassed adolescents become depressed and commit suicide. But Megan’s story is also a case study about cyberbullying.

Cellphone cameras and text messages, as well as social networking Web sites, e-mail and instant messaging, all give teenagers a wider range of ways to play tricks on one another, to tease and to intimidate their peers.

And unlike traditional bullying, which usually is an intimate, if highly unpleasant, experience, high-tech bullying can happen anywhere, anytime, among lots of different children who may never actually meet in person. It is inescapable and often anonymous, said sociologists and educators who have studied cyberbullying.

If only Wondermark’s explanation of the Internet were more well-distributed

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