An Englishman’s Word On Social Media Bullying

by Neil Bamforth

There’s a lot of social media bullying about you know. A disgracefully large amount actually. I suppose it’s the anonymity that is possible, along with the fact that you aren’t ‘face to face’ with someone so, as a bully, you can try and intimidate people without the worry that they might punch you in the head a lot harder than you could them.

Bullying has been around pretty much as long as humanity. Whether it was around before humanity and dinosaurs were at it is a mystery. I suspect not, and that bullying is almost solely the domain of humanity.

I have seen wildlife shows that have chimpanzees bullying other chimpanzees but, they are our nearest relatives so it fits.

Young people in particular seem most susceptible to on line bullying. Suicides have occurred as a result in the worst cases. Quite how it can be prevented though is, to me, just as much of a mystery as whether dinosaurs bullied each other.

There are hundreds of thousands of examples of this on line bullying around, but I’ll use a couple closer to home to emphasize the point.

A young girl who is on the autistic scale joined a closed Facebook group that supported a local Veterinary surgeon, who had fallen foul of the law. I won’t bother with details of how as it isn’t really that relevant.

She had spotted a comment on a Facebook page from me regarding being a member of national British charity, Cats Protection, and also realized I was supportive of this vet. The comment wasn’t on this closed group as I’m not a member of it.

Out of the blue, she messaged me that she had left this closed group as she felt their terminology was starting to sound quite violent and, as a result, they were now bullying and harassing her via her Facebook page for leaving them.

She asked me if I knew any of them – I don’t – and could I help her?

As it happened, I did have a contact who did know them so I asked my contact to intervene – she is highly thought of by this group – and she did. The bullying stopped.

Quite why people thought that on line bullying of a young girl with autism was a decent way to behave is quite beyond me. I was glad I could help but alarmed that I had needed to.

The other day I commented on a Facebook page regarding Brexit. It was a fairly innocuous comment to be honest. I merely said that, as a ‘remain’ voter, I was alarmed for our democracy given the current situation we are in.

I suppose, given the zealot like position both sides seem to have taken up, somebody who seems to be trying to understand both sides point of view is not only a novelty for them, but a person who isn’t a zealot. Let’s face it, having a sane discussion with a zealot is pretty difficult.

The ‘leave’ supporters seemed quite supportive of my comment, while the ‘remain’ supporters were less so.

Given the almost evangelical passion both sides seem to have, I suppose a somewhat ‘moderate’ comment isn’t something they are used to anymore.

One of the ‘remain’ supporters then spent quite sometime trawling through my Facebook account. In the hundreds of pictures in my account, there is one of a badge saying ‘Vote Leave’.

He then copied this to the comments section and began a tirade of abuse at me.

Fortunately, for me, I don’t give a damn. My Rhino like skin has been on me for more years than I care to remember so, when it comes to receiving social media abuse from cowards, I laugh.

I decided to explain, for the benefit of other people reading the comments, that I had indeed started out as a ‘leaver’ but, having listened to ‘remain’ arguments from my daughter and her partner, along with learning that around 70% of young people – I presumed this meant under 30 – wanting to remain, I switched to ‘remain’ as they had more future than me, so I decided to vote for them.

As a result, I was certainly not a passionate ‘remainer’ but, that’s the way I voted.

I then told the ‘tirade of abuse’ chap that I was impressed that he had so much time on his hands. It had taken me over 10 minutes to find the offending picture on my own account, so God (or the deity of your choice) knows how long he must have sat and trawled though images of cats, my garden and my grinning face to find it.

His tirade escalated accordingly. I probably didn’t help by responding with laughing emoji’s but I freely admit, I do love winding people up once I’ve found out how to.

I honestly think that, if he could have got hold of me, he would have quite possibly killed me.

I had this vision of some moron getting redder and redder in the face as he poured his vitriol at me, and my laughing emoji responses just got bigger and bigger.

He finally stopped. I have no idea why. Perhaps he had a stroke or his head exploded or something.

A few more ‘remainers’ had earlier jumped on his bandwagon but, possibly realizing that I was quite enjoying myself rather than allowing myself to be bullied, they jumped off the bandwagon remarkably quickly.

It could be that, as the town where I live is on my profile and I suggested he meet me sometime so I could ‘share an understanding with him’, his cheer leaders realized it could get a bit more serious than they envisaged.

Bullying over social media is one thing. Actually having the balls to meet the person you are trying to bully, given that, for all you know, they might well batter you, is quite another.

I actually advised the young autistic girl to respond with laughing emoji’s. She liked that idea. I told her that, even if the bullies do upset her, never let them know they have. Treat them with disdain.

Obviously, if you feel sufficiently threatened in terms of your personal safety then it has to go to the police but, otherwise, treat them as the morons they are. Most will then give up and go and find an easier target.

Come to think on it, if bullying is to happen, perhaps via social media is a slightly better place? At school, if you were bullied, you couldn’t escape the bully. If, like me, you just took a chance and thumped them as hard as your skinny little body allowed and they fell over with a bloody nose then great. They left you alone. On the other hand, if it didn’t work you were in for good hammering.

At least, on social media, you can ‘block’ them, ‘delete’ them’, or just switch off and read a book instead.

What a world eh?

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Posted by on April 3, 2019. Filed under COMMENTARY/OPINION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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2 Responses to An Englishman’s Word On Social Media Bullying

  1. Michael John Scott Reply

    April 3, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    People are actually killing themselves because of cyber-bullying, almost always teenagers. Sad.

  2. jess Reply

    April 5, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    I think I would sometimes rather have the bullying because I can deal better with that than the dick pics** I get sent on the regular.

    **Guys if we want to see yer dicks, we will ask you to pull em out.

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