Cyber bullying and different Times reports

I was going to post something that caught my eye in an article in the Sunday Times that discusses cyber-bullying. In my version of the paper, there’s a mention of Michael McIlveen, but it doesnt appear at all in the on-line version. This is from page 13 of the Times “Even more serious abuse has taken place in Ireland. In May, Michael McIlveen, 15, was beaten to death in a sectarian gang attack after eating a pizza with a friend from a Loyalist estate. After the murder, an innocent teenager’s Bebo site was bombarded with abusive messages accusing him of complicity in the murder. One read “I hope all of you f***** sick bastards die and your bodies are left in the street so we can all walk past and jump on your heads”

I’m well aware that there are different versions of the Times here and in GB, but I didnt that that changing the stories went to such a micro level. In any case, I thought that it was quite interesting, particularly in light of all the comment the Bebo site and subsequent posts on it received here at the time.

There are 2 strong arguments in the article for and against these social network sites. Evidence is given that the sites can allow or promote this insidious type of bullying, and can create a very distressing environment for children.

The pro argument is that it provides ‘a space for teenagers to discuss things they couldnt otherwise like their sexuality or health issues.’ I dont know about other sluggers, but having grown up before the advent of computers, we managed to find a way to talk about sex.

Maybe this is an argument along the lines of Oliver J Flanagan (TD Laois/Offaly) who famously declared on the Late Late show that there had been no sex in Ireland until the television. Well, there was sex and bullying before television or radio and probably before the wheel was invented. It’s the context that keeps changing, and thats the bit we need to remember.

  • TAFKABO

    MissFitz.

    Yes of course we discussed sex before the internet and television.
    But I can’t but help refelct on how far less homophobic and racist kids of today seem compared to my generation.

  • MissFitz: If you turn to page 2 of the online report you cited, you will see the piece about McIlveen. The piece in questioon was quite weak: just another hack trying to hack out a story. I particularly “liked” the LSE professor spouting off. Maybe if schools and parents were more interesting and if they devoted more real world time to their kids, bebo and the like would go back into nerds’ corner.
    Indeed,I would blame semi literate parents (no names) and karaoke teachers (empty inside) for these virtual outrages. http://www.ratemyteachers.ie is very popular with pupils but not with teachers. Why? Because it shows the teachers up as the dried up floss that they are.
    A more worrying aspect is the total lack of aesthetics in those pages. The colour schemes etc look like theywere investned by retards. Which is probably what they are.
    Anyway, maybe Slugger could introduce a bully’s corner here. I’m sure it would be popular and I, for one, would enjoy slagging off the slappers/Huns/Taigs et al.
    Anyone ever chat out yahoo chat for Belfast? Really “funny”. It consists of one mob posting in red, white and blue such informative posts as: KAT,ATAT, Rangers, UFF etc and another Hun phobic group proclaiming their allegience to Celtic, PIRA etc. The kids there have the same phobia to aesthetics as do the bebo crowd.

  • Rubicon

    MissFitz – I have you to thank for directing me to the Bebo site. It was shortly after the McIlveen murder and I was depressed by the posts I read there.

    What appalled me more though was the lack of proper site management. I was able to get the photograph and complete profile details of the main person being accused.

    I returned to the site a day later and had my faith in youth restored (a little – I’m still a grumpy old swine!). The messages were in “text speak” (which I find more difficult that Ulster Scotch) but clear in their humanity; their communal sympathy for Michael and his family.

    I have kids myself and boy can they drive me up the wall! I’ve found the best way is to focus on positive behaviour and express disappointment in negative acts.

    They seem to be doing OK with this approach – not my “OK” – but not doing harm (excluding my mental well-being!).

    Kids need a forum for expression and BOY does the internet give them that! Perhaps they’ll grow up to be better negotiators than us because of it – and I’m talking after grounding my daughter after her and her friend signed up to MSN with the handle “2GirlsUpForIt”.

    Sometimes it’s better not to depart advice until it’s asked for. Slugger of course would die under such a motto – but kids ARE different; they need to feel their way and sometimes that means we’re just the shoulder to cry on when you bite your lip and NOT say, “I told you so!”

    The management of websites like Bebo worries me much more. It took me a long time to recognise the difference between justice and revenge. Many adults still fail to see the difference.

  • Rubicon

    BTW – coming from the west of Ireland, AFTER TV but before the internet I can remember many a frustrating night where sex was neither discussed nor done 🙁

    The quote I remember best was from a lovely dark-haired sultry looking lady who’d I’d done my best to get “in the mood”. I was told, “I don’t drink, I don’t smoke and I certainly don’t do THAT!”

    Not long after I moved to Dublin!

  • missfitz

    Taigs
    You are absolutely right, I didnt go to page 2, and it’s right there. I must have been more tired that I thought, I’ve been travelling for days now!

    Well, that restores my faith in the Times, but as I said, the main thrust of the thread is about the cyber bullying, as well as the reference to Michael McIlveen.

  • http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/5048542.stm

    Bebo is on the prowl. Lock up your daughters.