How to Deal with Online Harassment

How to Deal with Online Harassment

How to Deal with Online Harassment is information that remains topical and essential going into 2019.

As more and more of us turn to technology to express ourselves and release our frustrations, and our laws fail to keep up with the myriad of ways victims are targeted online, the problem of cyber abuse is compounded.

So, here’s an excellent piece Anna Goldfarb did for Vice Magazine on the subject last March.  I contributed some expert advice.

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Middle School Bullying Predicted by Presidential Support, Study Finds

middle school bullying

They are not old enough to vote, but are still affected: it seems middle school bullying is influenced by the national political discourse.  A recent study found a correlation between local Trump support and bullying among middle school children.

middle-school bullying

The study—which was carried out from 2013 to 2017—found an increase in bullying among 7th and 8th grade students in localities that favored the Republican candidate in the 2016 presidential election.

Based on the data, the percentage of voters supporting the Republican candidate was a statistically significant predictor of an increase in the number of students bullied on the basis of their race or ethnicity.

Though the study does not conclude that the Republican candidate directly caused the increased victimization among the children, the researchers suggest a ‘trickle down’ effect.  The study notes that people sharing the president’s views might “be most likely to echo his statements and attitudes in their own behavior,” and more children in those regions are thereby exposed to aggression modeling.

In addition, the study highlights the role of media—particularly online sources—in affecting aggressive behavior among children:

[A]fter the presidential election, a prominent hate website, Daily Stormer, encouraged its audience to make foreigners and persons wearing Islamic clothing feel unwanted and frightened …

There is evidence that Russian operatives used Facebook ads to amplify political divisions and engender conflict on controversial topics including race, immigration, and sexual minority rights…

It is plausible that some of these efforts affected adolescents or adults who had influence on adolescents, especially their parents.

Bullying—including cyberbullying—can have deleterious effects on young victims, including increased absenteeism, anxiety, depression, poorer grades in school, damage to physical health and well-being, self-esteem, sleeping issues, social anxiety, and increased risk of suicide.

The study again underscores the importance of making sure children know what to do if they find themselves victims of middle school bullying.

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Attorney Candice Blain Offers Expertise in Spin Article on Cyberbullying of Victims Alleging Celebrity Abuse

Cyberbullying of Victims

Cyberbullying of victims coming forward to allege abuse is now a well-known phenomenon.  Attorney Candice Blain lent her expertise on cyberbullying and online harassment in an article recently published by Spin: After #MeToo: Accusers of R. Kelly, Jesse Lacey, and More on Enduring Fan Harrassment

The article by Andy Cush explores in-depth the phenomenon of harassment by fan armies and the experiences of women who have come forward to accuse celebrity musicians—such as R. Kelly, the late rapper XXXTentacion, Twiggy Ramirez (Marilyn Manson bassist), Jesse Lacey (Brand New), and William Francis (William Control)—of abuse only to then suffer harassment, bullying, and abuse, both online and in real life, at the hands of the accused musician’s fans.

Discussing Kesha’s battle against Dr. Luke, and her decision to talk publicly of her abuse, Cush notes that speaking up rather than going quiet, while difficult, is often the best or even sole option for survivors seeking justice, writing:

She is believed, which is what all survivors are asking for on a baseline level, and she received the kind of support that would be offered to all survivors in an ideal world.

The piece discusses an important problem as it exists today: cyberbullying and online harassment, and the price survivors continue to pay for their courage in speaking out.

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Cyberbullying of victims merely represents a new approach to an age-old tactic: silencing survivors.

 

 

 

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