Cyber bullying at UGA

Reported by Lindsay Tuman

The problem goes beyond even racism, cyber bullying is the new way people attack. And because so much of this occurs in a school environment educators are holding a cyberbullying panel tomorrow. They hope to teach how to help prevent this kind of behavior in today’s digital society.

Insults, launched with just a few taps on a keyboard. Abuse, blasted all over a screen. Emotional scars, shot with the click of a mouse. It’s a war of words and the battlefield is infinite.

“That old saying, “sticks and stones may break your bones but words can never hurt you. It’s a lie!” Says Josh Fletcher, the coordinator for LGBT at UGA. He says the screen that separates the attacker from the victim can be like a shield for them. Fletcher says, “I think some people feel very confident sitting behind a computer screen, they feel brave being anonymous and feel more supportive saying something outrageous and horrendous.”ip=> But the fact that it is anonymous makes it that much worse. Fletcher says, “The person next to me, the person next to me on the bus, the person walking to class with me, faculty, anyone. Anyone could be behind this.

But cyberbullying doesn’t stop with just individual remarks on people’s pages. it’s also all of the comments on videos, pictures, and posts, even YouTube videos.

Adrianna Nateal never expected she would be the victim of cyberbullying. Nateal said, “You never expect it to be directed at you really, and so I was blindsided by it personally.” And to those who say they’re just words, Nateal knows the message is hard to ignore. She says, “So while the word is maybe just four letters, it represents so much fear and so much hatred.”

The panel is put on through Safe and Wellness training for UGA. They’ve had cyber safety training before but this is aimed directly at the problem at cyber bullying and how educators can help prevent it. And if you are interested in attending the panel tomorrow it’s going to be from 11:30 to 1:30 tomorrow. The event cost is ten dollars for faculty and students, for everyone else it’s forty five dollars.

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