Cyberbullying growing among adult women

Print
Email
|

by MIMI JUNG / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @MimiJungKING5

KING5.com

Posted on May 6, 2010 at 11:00 PM

Updated Thursday, May 6 at 11:05 PM

There's been a lot of news about teenage cyberbullies, but it's not just for teens. Experts say it's also growing among adult women - and it too can turn vicious.

Whether it's a chat room or social network, Gina Moore-Sanders practically lives online.

"I get to meet a lot of different people with diverse opinions and I like to have conversations with them," she said.

Recently, Moore-Sanders posted a creative story on an Internet bulletin board. Soon, cyberbullies began taking shots, from snide comments to personal attacks.

"They said expletives, profanity that I was stupid and I was crazy," said Moore-Sanders.

Experts say anytime you are harassed, humiliated or threatened online it's cyberbullying, and teens aren't the only victims. 

"I hear about adult women retaliating a lot more and retaliating in really vicious ways, to the point where sites get shut down, people drop off of sites," said Dr. Cheryl Dellasega, author of Mean Girls Grown Up.

She says bullying can be one rude comment, or a string of them.

"The topics that women are cyberbullied about are really endless. It could be a romance. It could be your parenting practices," said Dellasega.

It can even be about physical appearance or family.  Romi Lassally started truuconfessions.com, an anonymous online confession booth for women. While she sees plenty of positive chit-chat, she also sees the negative.

"We probably see cyberbullying maybe 1 in 10 confessions, maybe 2 in 10 comments. We don't want to post it. We want to offer a judgment free, safe place for women," said Lassally.

So Lassally has the site moderated. She believes part of the reason women bear their claws is insecurity.

"I think the platform invites conversation, but it also invites different opinions," said Lassally. "And if one woman's doing it one way, that just might seem wrong to someone else."

Dellasega says sometimes mean girls grow into mean women, especially when the there's anonymity.

"It's like being behind a mask," said Dellasega. "It offers that sort of anonymous screen for a woman to say some things that she wouldn't normally say."

Moore-Sanders says, even as an adult, the words cut just as deep.

"It made me feel offended and it hurt--a lot," she said.

So, how does one fight back?

"They want you to fire back. The best thing to do is to turn off the computer and walk away," said Dellasega.

And if you want to respond, stop and think before you hit send. That's what Moore-Sanders does when words turn nasty.

"That's when I decide to just not have a discussion anymore," said Gina.

If you know who is bullying you, Dellasega suggests meeting them in person to work things out. That way, you can clarify what was said online and there are no misunderstandings.

For more information:

www.cheryldellasega.com

www.truuconfessions.com

Print
Email
|