What is CyberBullying?

  1. “Why do they do it?”
  2. “Why won’t they stop?”
  3. “Why is it so crushing?”
  4. “What can I do?”
  1. Social status is awarded by winning the match. Ascending status feels good; descending status feels bad; uncertain status means the game is still on because end-of-match emotions kick-in when the match ends.
  2. Until the game is over, participants will feel an urgent need to focus on game activities, and their immediate emotional reactions to them. When they or their partners score points they feel good; when they or their partners lose points they feel bad. And, attention is riveted when the proverbial ball is in play.
  3. In normal face-to-face social sorting (bullying), the match is over when the target concedes or appears fully defeated (or “sorted”).
  1. The aggressor(s) perceive the target as a human being (worthy of mercy). So, the target’s distress or submission signals the aggressor(s) to stop and enjoy the emotional reward of victory rather than continuing to attack.
  2. The target has the opportunity or ability to flee the field.
  3. The aggressor(s) understand that the match is over upon the target’s submission, flight, or absence (and receives no emotional reward for continued offensive action).
  4. There is an intermission between matches, where participants cool-off; emotionally re-set; and review their actions. Critically, they also get to experience different emotional reactions by engaging in entirely different activities.
  1. It facilitates dehumanization in a supercharged way.
  2. It short-circuits the evolutionary safety system.
  3. It locks the reward of aggression and the pain of losing into loops.
  1. Greater empathy with the pervasiveness and the intensity with which children experience cyber-bullying.
  2. Greater empathy and understanding for the aggressors, who can seem to be evil, but who are actually caught in a looping pattern — nearly as unable to quit as the target is to escape.
  3. A more creative attitude toward coping strategies — including those I’m going to present in detail next time, when I answer that fourth question:

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