Wednesday, June 11, 2008

More on Cyber Bullying

The Kate Pendley Question of the Day: Cyber Bullying: Cause of Legitimate Fear?

The Kate Pendley Answer of the Day: Yes & No.

I realize that a next day follow up post about Cyber Bullying may be a bit premature, but the issue is really bothering me. Specifically, the issue of publicity for the stalker.

What do I mean exactly? Well, just like the tabloids I believe that cyber stalkers gain increasingly more control over their victims not directly by virtually inserting themselves into other people's lives, but by the traffic they receive by doing so.

Talk about life being unfair. It's enough to have seriously disturbed people out there tapping the internet for their own, demented self-interests, but to think that machines are cataloguing and ranking it all makes you feel a little cyber-queasy. My pity extends beyond myself when I realize that the more demented the post, the more traffic it will probably receive. Just like the tabloids. The more bizarre and outlandish the story is, the more traffic it receives, thereby increasing the celebrity of the stalker.

So what a nice little conundrum we have now. However, looking at it through a different set of lenses I can also see the irony of it all. The cyber stalker wants control. They get it through bullying and writing crazy things about the victim. The get traffic to their posts because they are....well...entertaining. Score one for the stalker. He increases the profile of the victim and controls that profile through what he posts.

But, here's the catch: The stalker takes what he is saying/writing very seriously. "It happened that way, I swear!" (you get the gist). So seriously, that he is incredibly diligent about dedicating an abnormal amount of time to the victim (which now truly qualifies him as a stalker) and establishes fairly elaborate ways to publicize his mission.

And, as traffic builds and his stories increase in popularity online, I am sure he gains a good amount of satisfaction and pride. Maybe even encouragement to continue stalking.

But here is the problem with it all: the only reason people are reading the stories is because they are so bizarre. Not because they are enlightening or full of fact, but because they are entertaining, ridiculous and downright strange. And, we all know (check the latest sales of the Enquirer) that people LOVE strange.

So, some advice from victim to victim:

Look at it this way, your stalker thinks he is gaining legitimate power when, in fact, most people look at him like he is a three headed chicken.

He is not any less dangerous or insane or worthy of prosecution. But, his posts are ridiculous, most people seem them as ridiculous and that's why all the attention.

I still believe that stalkers and cyber bullies should be stopped. I still believe that there are laws against slander, malice and liable for a reason. But, everything should also be see for what it is. There is no power to be gained by being a nuisance. There is no control that comes out of cyber stalking or bashing or bullying. It's pathetic, bottom feeding that should be illegal. Or, if not, be associated with a stiff penalty of being repeatedly smacked upside the head until the nonsense falls out.

Any content providers willing to step up and put a stop to this?

Until later, keep each other safe.
-kate pendley

No comments: