‘No pa­ram­e­ters with on­line bul­lies’

The psy­chol­o­gist

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - SPECIAL REPORT -

CHIL­DREN who tor­ment peo­ple with on­line abuse are likely to be­come bul­lies in the real world, says a Bucks psy­chol­o­gist.

Dr Lynda Shaw, pic­tured be­low, from Chal­font St Giles says cy­ber bul­ly­ing is a grow­ing epi­demic which will spawn ‘more and more prob­lems’ for the county’s young­sters.

She said: “Cy­ber bul­ly­ing is hideous. We have no pa­ram­e­ters, no polic­ing, no wit­nesses, and there­fore peo­ple’s be­hav­iour seems to run away with them.

“Chil­dren who are bul­lies grow up to be bul­lies at work and chil­dren who are cy­ber bul­lies will con­tinue look­ing for tar­gets un­til they are stopped.

“Cy­ber bul­lies can not see the hurt in somebody’s face, they are sort of de­tached and not quite re­al­is­ing the depths of that hurt they cause and, be­cause they are do­ing it anony­mously, they think no­body can catch them.

Cy­ber bul­lies carry out their abuse for the same old rea­sons as any other bul­lies, says Dr Shaw: low self es­teem, fear, in­se­cu­rity.

“And they will only pick on somebody who won’t fight back,” she said. “They need peo­ple who they can con­trol over their own bul­ly­ing which gives them a sense of power over their des­tiny.”

Cy­ber bul­lies oc­ca­sion­ally feel the full wrath of the law. In a re­cent high pro­file case Is­abella Sor­ley, 24, was jailed for three months for send­ing men­ac­ing tweets to the fem­i­nist cam­paigner Caro­line Cri­ado-Perez.

She has since given in­ter­views ex­press­ing her re­gret, say­ing she did not know why she sent vile mes­sages.

Yet haul­ing cy­ber bul­lies be­fore the courts is not the prefer­able ap­proach for Dr Shaw, who added: “They need psy­cho­log­i­cal help and a psy­chol­o­gist to work with them to make sure the bully knows their ac­tions are to­tally un­ac­cept­able.

“I think we will hear more and more prob­lems about cy­ber bul­ly­ing. The only way to stop it is to mon­i­tor what we put on so­cial me­dia and then you start los­ing free­dom of speech.”

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