Cyber-bullying – a teenager-only problem?

In recent years, cyber-bullying has become an issue of concern. There have been numerous cases of victimized teenagers, who in face of vicious cyber-bullying resorted to suicide.  With Cyber-bullying becoming a big concern, many campaigns have emerged seeking to curb its prevalence. These campaigns target teenagers, young adults and their parents so that they know how to respond in case cyber-bullying becomes an issue.

Since cyber-bullying is always portrayed as a problem of teenagers, I personally have never thought that it could affect adults. You can, therefore, imagine my surprise when I came across the story of Anita Sarkeesian. Anita is a Canadian media critic and blogger, who has devoted her work to exploring feminist issues. During one of her projects, “Tropes vs Women in Video Games”, she explored the depiction of women in video games. Throughout her study, Anita was cyberbullied on multiple occasions through a variety of media channels.  According to Anita, the individuals who cyber-bullied her were mostly grown up men, in their 30s, who viewed the attacks against her as an online game in which she was the target that had to be eliminated. Luckily, Anita received a lot of support from her peers, allowing her to continue her project despite the cyber-bullying.

Based on Anita’s story, I now realize that cyber-bullying is not a problem that is restricted to teenagers, as it can affect all age groups. Unfortunately, most anti-cyber-bullying campaigns that we see are aimed at teenagers only. Thus, I believe that existing campaigns should widen their scope so that people understand that cyber-bullying is not a problem restricted to a single demographic. By talking more about cyber-bullying and bringing more cases like that of Anita to light, I believe we would be better positioned to tackling this problem in all of its manifestations.

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One thought on “Cyber-bullying – a teenager-only problem?

  1. Yuliya, I agree! I also think they should come up with different terminology. It might be a generational thing, but the word “bullying” doesn’t carry much weight with me personally. I think Sarkeesian describing it as “online harassment and cyber mobs” gives it a little more perspective and also opens it up into a more adult conversation. What do you think?

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