Just saw this awesome article by my friend, Mittekemuis! Great effort, a fantastic read and something maybe all of us should remember???
Hello there, Are you part of the eRepublik community that spends a lot of time on IRC? Do you read forums and ingame shouts? Are you willing to speak up? If so I would like you to read this article and stop to think.
After seeing this advertising video on YouTube today and also reading about how it is stirring up quite the commotion amongst Twitter, Facebook and other social media, I am ready to set my maybes aside. This has given me a push to speak up in our little eWorld that we have created. It is my hope and belief that many with me are willing to step up. There is only one way that we can beat the bullies, and that is by taking a stand and not being afraid to speak up, to stand between the bullies and the victims.
Cyber-bullying involves the use of information and communication technologies such as e-mail, cell phone and pager text messages, instant messaging (IM), defamatory personal Web sites, and defamatory online personal polling Web sites, to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others.
In all honesty I must say that the erepublik community isn’t the worst place for this sort of cyber-bullying. Most of it is politics anyway. Still it happens and one time is one time too many.
Nicknames are mostly chosen to fit our own profiles. Enough times we have asked the question, “What does your nickname stand for?” Nicknames give us clues about the people behind them. To know this is the first step toward acknowledging that there is a living, feeling person behind the nick. It is not a robot without feelings that is typing on a computer screen. These nicknames are just the replacement of the masks we wear when dealing with people face to face. Although bullying is done on the work floor, in school, in all places where we put people together, it is more visible and condemned than cyber bullying.
Let’s face it people, most of us are geeks. Some are more geeky than others but we all play this online sandbox game and many of us are gaming freaks. Some of us make trolling an art form; others think they are smart enough to be a troll but aren’t. Those people, ladies and gents, are the worst kind of wannabee trolls, the ones that set out to pester people because maybe they are not as smart as their victims, or maybe they are just a little more geeky.
Imagine yourself to be lonely. On the work floor, people don’t talk with you during lunch break. At best, they ignore you. You come home, open IRC, and search for someone to talk to. Instead of a nice conversation you get laughed at because your ideas are not mainstream. Again, you feel you are alone. Nobody cares to be your friend, and after some time you will really believe you are worthless. Why should you walk the earth when nobody cares? Here we are talking grownups but amongst young adults and kids this sort of thing is even more frequent. School yard placements, status is everything. I know this as I have two kids, ages 14 and 13. They talk about which groups there are: The cool kids, the almost cool kids, the kids who are tolerated, and then the outcasts. This last group of kids is highly active on the internet as they have little to no social life going on. Do me a favour and search in Google under ‘suicide after cyberbullying”.
Not so long ago a dear eFriend of mine was the subject of a hate campaign against him.
I asked Konrad to say a few words about it:
“I play eRepublik for the community. As a gay person with no support from my family, eRep is one great resource for me as it is one of the few places I really can be myself and with others who are like me. There are a lot of allies online as well which is a great resource. Sadly, not all people are nice and supportive.
In eBelgium for example, it is being PTOed by the HOPE and PANDA party. I am a strong voice against their actions and movement. Instead of dealing with ingame stuff, they went personal and attack my gender. I received PMs like “For 50 Euros, you can suck my cock homo” to comments like “Be a man for once.” This PTO group made many pictures referring to me calling me the Anal Rocket to other extremely inappropriate themes. These comments and pictures were both in the media and in the eBE forums.
At first, I thought I can just ignore it. It is just some stupid kids that is making some comments here or there. However, it did not stop. They got more and more abusive. A lot of the comments starts to hurt and I really got depressed. The comments stuck with me and while it is stupid, it really did hurt. It was really demoralizing they really make me feel pathetic. They really made me feel subhuman. I was angry at the community as well. It was really lame that while they agree the comments are hurtful etc, they did not do too much about it. Even with the case, it took a really long time for there to be a verdict. (see below) I really need my closest friends for support.
This is why cyberbullying is really lame. It is hurtful and mean spirited. Even today, they do make mean comments here or there. It is not right and it is totally unjust. While they admit it makes them feel “macho,” it is nothing macho about bullying people. In the end, it makes them much smaller than they really are. So I hope there are a lot of big people in this game. For it takes big people to debate issues and policies and not attack and bully people into submission.”
Cyber Bullying Statistics
One in Ten Children Worldwide Experiences Cyber Bullying
Bullying Victims are 2 to 9 Times More Likely to Commit Suicide
25% of Kids Don't Tell Anyone About Bullies
Cyber Bullying Has Actually Gone Down (indicates the importance of campaigning)
56% Report That Cyber Bullying Has Real-World Consequences
39% of Social Network Users Experience Cyber Bullying
I talk with a lot with people on IRC. I have my own reasons for being online so much. Others have reasons, too. Amongst one of the biggest reasons people spend time on internet chat rooms is to seek company. Often they feel they do not fit in well with the real world. They seek freedom. They try to be themselves and open up in chat rooms, as it is deemed safe. We see again the misconception of hiding behind a nickname. As much as the bullies feel protected by the anonymous nature of nicknames, the ones who are setting themselves up for it make the same mistake.
Yes you read this right although the people who get singled out are victims, they too have a responsibility. They have the responsibility to fight back, to speak out loud about what they go through.
Bullying and cyberbullying will likely always exist in some form or another. Verbal abuse is the most common form of bullying done around the world. Without the threat of physical violence, it is important for caring people to be supportive of all the community members so the victims know where to turn if they are bullied. Often, having someone at hand simply to talk about bullying concerns is enough to help, ignore and overcome it.
Never respond to harassing responses
Don't send your picture or personal information to individuals you don't know on the Internet
Remember- the Internet isn't a private place. Anything you say, or pictures that you share, can be sent all over the Internet to anyone, everywhere.
Save any suspected emails or text messages- you may need them as evidence later if the situation escalates
If you are a victim of cyber or a computer bully you have several options to get help. First, go to a trusted friend for help before the situation escalates. A channel moderator is your first line of defense to end harassment. Don't give up until someone agrees to help you. If you are being bullied through your Instant Messaging system ingame notify erepublik administrators, ask for a block on the ID of the person or persons harassing you. If it is happening in a chat room, notify the moderator of that channel.
For eRepublik players, and mainly for IRC users, we have set a channel where you can find people who are trusted and is also just a place to chill out. Everybody is welcome for some laughs and conversations.
You can join #echillroom on Rizon.
Players who are willing to step up in rough situations and who can be trusted will have ops in the channel so they can easily be spotted. Hanging around in the channel will make it possible for you to learn to know them and trust these people.
Finally, I want to thank all people who have helped to make this project possible. MaryamQ for the grammar and spelling checks, Salvatore3 as advisor and the different people who have translated and published it in other countries. A special thanks to MaartenW for supporting this and Konrad for his courage.
Last but not least the two most awesome graphics guys in the UK, Acroc & Rory.
What is this?You are reading an article written by a citizen of eRepublik, an immersive multiplayer strategy game based on real life countries. Create your own character and help your country achieve its glory while establishing yourself as a war hero, renowned publisher or finance guru.