Empathy, Not Technology, Is Core of the Problem and the Solution

danah boyd | apophenia » “Bullying” Has Little Resonance with Teenagers

[…] When I first started interviewing teenagers about bullying, they would dismiss my questions. “Bullying is so middle/elementary school,” they’d say. […]

[…] Of course, teens do take it seriously. And they do misinterpret when people are messing with them. And they do take minor social infractions personally. And then things escalate. And here’s what makes bullying so difficult to address. So often, one person thinks that they’re not at fault and that they’re simply a victim of bullying. But those who are engaged in the bullying see it entirely differently. They blame the person and see what they’re doing as retaliation. None of this is communicated, of course, so things can quickly spiral out of control without anyone really knowing where it all began.[…]

Empathy, Not Technology, Is Core of the Problem and the Solution

[…] We need interventions that focus on building empathy, identifying escalation, and techniques for stopping the cycles of abuse. We need to create environments where young people don’t get validated for negative attention and where they don’t see relationship drama as part of normal adult life. The issues here are systemic. And it’s great that the Internet is forcing us to think about them, but the Internet is not the problem here. It’s just one tool in an ongoing battle for attention, validation, and status. And unless we find effective ways of getting to the root of the problem, the Internet will just continue to be used to reinforce what is pervasive.

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Finally, a well said and researched article that recognizes that the Internet is not the problem… It just amplifies the issues already present.

The bullying that Ann and her brother endured was as cruel as anything that happens on the internet and back then, before cell phones, cell phone cameras, MSN, Facebook and YouTube, it didn’t matter if the information didn’t go beyond the class or the school because that was the scale of the ‘whole world knowing’ anyway.

Blaming the internet or technology for making bullying worse is like blaming a gun for shooting someone. It’s not the tool, but how you use it that matters.

We need to develop empathy from a young age, infuse caring across the curriculum, and as Dana says, stop validating negative attention and start breaking the cycles of abuse that escalate into hurtful scenarios, (both on and off the internet).

“Empathy, Not Technology, Is Core of the Problem and the Solution!”