Moderated by Leah Wing


As information communication technology has become intricately woven into our lives, humans have harnessed their capacity for extraordinarily creative innovations to foster human connection across time and space.  Yet, sadly and perhaps not unexpectedly, we have also brought into new ICT forums our capacity for cruelty and domination through bullying.  Do different mediums of cyberbullying (text, picture, Internet, video) produce different impacts on victims?  Can one form be more damaging than another?  What gender and cultural dynamics impact cyberbullying?  What legislation, public policies, and educational and commercial practices are in place to prevent and handle cyberbullying?  What ODR platforms and software can or are addressing this problem?  How can the strengths of ICT, such as lessening isolation, be capitalized upon to reduce the effects of Cyberbullying?


New challenges and opportunities face our field to contribute to the prevention and handling of bullying through ICT avenues.  Join us for this conversation!


A final note:  It is requested that personal identifying details of actual cases are not shared and that anyone who believes that they have or are experiencing cyberbullying seek assistance from those whom they trust since this forum cannot serve as a source for handling such cases. 


One link among many which can be of help is:


Moderator Bio:

Leah Wing is Co-Director, National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution is Senior Lecturer, Legal Studies Program, Political Science Department, University of Massachusetts/Amherst (US) and is founding director of the Social Justice Mediation Institute.  She has served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Conflict Resolution (2002-6) and has been a member of the editorial board of Conflict Resolution Quarterly since 2002.  Her publications concentrate on the critical examination of conflict transformation theory and practices in both the online and offline worlds and her most recent publication is “Online Dispute Resolution and the Development of Theory” co-authored with Dan Rainey in M. Waahab, D. Rainey and E. Katsh, Online Dispute Resolution: Theory and Practice (2012). 



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Thank you Leah and all contributors for an amazing, eye opening week! 

My how much this discussion has covered, its hard to remember all the excellent points I have come across. That being said I will way in on what I can and I apologize if I repeat something that anyone has already covered. I didn't know very much about cyber-bullying coming into this discussion but it seems like something that is not well understood and can be more devastating than people give it credit for.

I was talking not to long ago with a friend of mine and we got into an argument about which type of bullying is worse; cyber-bullying or physical bullying. While I have no problem with anyone making the argument that real bullying is worse, it was the dismissive attitude of my friend that was quite concerning. He believed that cyber bullying was easy to stop, you just need to turn your computer off. While that may seem simple, it is much more complex than that. Both my friend and I are not big advocates of social media or other online socialization but much of America is into it. As a child or an adolescent an online social life is almost necessary to fit in. Thus cyber-bullying is not so easy to escape. In order to escape you need to cut away a decent part of your social life. While it is possible to not have an online social life it is becoming more difficult to do so. Not enjoying time online with your peers is far to heavy cost to pay for escaping cyber-bullying. And to make matters worse, turning off your computer really doesn't help you escape it. Cyber-bullying can be permanent because of how difficult it is to truly delete anything online. While you may not see it, you know it is still there and that others will see it. This knowledge can eat away at a person's mind and really damage him or her emotionally. So cyber-bullying can carry over into real life because of how much people communicate online currently. In this sense cyber-bullying is much harder to avoid then real life physical bullying. It is easier to avoid a few real people than the entire internet. In addition it is easier to counter act real life bullying. A person can stand up to real bullies or enlist help in dealing with them. Cyber bullying does not have such a solution. You cannot stand up for yourself over the internet because of the anonymity. All you can do is be a bully as well (to those that bully you online) and that does not solve anything, it simply continues a cycle of hatred. While I can respect an argument for either type being worse, it is the lack of acknowledgment of the legitimacy of cyber-bullying that worries me.

I am concerned that my friend's attitude is not an outlier among the general populous. While I know that cyber-bullying is getting a lot more attention than it ever has, I still am not sure if people really understand how much of an effect it can have. Even if the internet does allow people to say nearly anything anonymously (if they choose to be anonymous) that does not mean that people (especially young people) will not be effected by derogatory messages made about them. At this point I wish more of what I heard about cyber-bullying was not what it is but how it effects people and what it causes people to feel.

PLEASE NOTE: It is requested that personal identifying details of actual cases are not shared and that anyone who believes that they have or are experiencing cyberbullying seek assistance from those whom they trust since this forum cannot serve as a source for handling such cases.


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