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There's No Such Thing As A 'No Bully Zone' When It's Online

Friends-1Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi's suicide last week helped raise national attention about cyberbullying, yet some Americans, like the Minnesota Family Council, refuse to even consider the dangers of virtual intimidation.

A CNN report helps put the unique impact of the epidemic into perspective

Recent research shows that cyberbullying can cause higher levels of depression in a child than traditional bullying. Compared with face-to-face bullying of schoolchildren, a child who had experienced cyberbullying from someone anonymous "may be more likely to feel isolated, dehumanized or helpless at the time of the attack," according a study from the National Institutes of Health. The study relied on surveys from more than 7,000 students.

Bullying experts say cyberbullying has lasting effects on children and teens. Messages posted on the internet are often permanent and difficult to remove. With one click of a mouse, comments can reach hundreds or thousands of students.

Even more troublesome, there's no escape from cyberbullying, which can follow a target home, hence the a forthcoming CNN special series, Bullying: No Escape, which airs on Anderson Cooper's show all week.

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  1. I just called and spoke to Mr Prichard. I asked him how he could endorse the bullying of children. He replied that he doesn't condone the bullying of children but is against anti-bullying programs. I replied that to stop bullying you need an anti-bullying program. I pointed out to him that his position is essentially this:

    We say we're against violence toward children, but will do nothing to stop violence directed at gay children. He said something unintelligible.

    I then asked him that since his position is based on his belief in his god, what evidence does he have for its existence. I told him that if he is going to justify bullying gay children then he should be able to prove the existence of a god. He said matter is evidence. I replied that matter is evidence of matter, nothing more. He then excused himself.

    I think the secular community needs to emphasize this: if you are going to propose public policy based on one's religious beliefs, then proof of this supreme being is required.

    Here is a copy of the email I sent Mr Prichard after I got off the phone with him:

    Mr Prichard,

    Since you want to use your religion to encourage violence toward gays and, in particular gay youth, you should be able to provide evidence of your god. This seems reasonable.

    What testable evidence can you provide that proves your point of view comes from a supreme being.

    Just to nip some of the more idiotic christian "proofs" in the bud,

    1. Matter is not evidence of a god. Matter is evidence of matter, nothing more.
    2. Life is not evidence of a god. Life is evidence of natural selection. The fossil record is quite clear on this.
    3. The bible is not evidence of a god. It a historically inaccurate book with incredibly brutal morality, nothing more.

    You may want to get used to this line of questioning. I think more people are going to require proof of your god before they sanction your position, which is to bully children. I am certainly going to encourage others to concentrate on this point.

    By endorsing the bullying of children you have shown what kind of morals your kind of christian has.

    You have my contempt,

    Posted by: Rem | Oct 4, 2010 5:59:29 PM


  2. An article in the Des Moines REGISTER a few weeks ago garnered a large number of responses, mostly along the lines of "there's always been bullying in schools" and "when I was in school, the Jocks were bullied". I responded to that one with a remark about how terrible it must have been to face the combined forces of the Latin and AV Clubs and the Athletic Managers with all their wet towels. Several comments were along the lines of "they need to grow a pair". I have to remind myself that whenever I venture into the online comments I've fallen among a hermetic order of cranks and ne'er-do-wells whose lives are often parched and paltry, and whose opinions don't get seen by the majority of readers. And there I am, right down in the tater patch, too.

    Posted by: CoMo'mo | Oct 4, 2010 6:02:11 PM


  3. TC was bullied, not "cyber" bullied. Cyber bullying suggests that the perpetrator was on the other side of the Internet. TC was bullied by his roommate. It would not matter in any event, because you can be bullied over the phone too.

    Posted by: anon | Oct 4, 2010 6:23:56 PM


  4. Larry King Live comes on before Anderson Cooper's AC 360.
    Larry has Kathy Griffin and Wanda Sykes on tonight to talk about teen suicides,

    Posted by: GregV | Oct 4, 2010 7:12:12 PM


  5. I am not advocating or condoning such bullying but these "Family" organizations would really change their tune on bullying if Christian children were targeted and were committing suicide.

    I can remember the extraordinary lengths Christian activists went to to "save" Terri Schaivo. However, when a gay teen commits suicide, it is "let them eat cake."

    Posted by: AngelaChanning | Oct 5, 2010 8:44:18 AM


  6. People who were bullies in school maintain that attitude through their lives. That's why their answer to hooligan thug attacks is "grow a pair." But let their own little darling get slapped, and it's ACLU and off to the courthouse.

    Posted by: wimsy | Oct 5, 2010 9:45:34 AM


  7. Cyberbullying is not a problem, If you are cyberbullied, Just bully them back, its the internet, nobody cares.

    Cyberbullying wont go away until our internet lives are just a culpable as our flesh and blood ones, ie SOON.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Oct 5, 2010 11:33:57 AM


  8. REM-You rock! Church and State aren't a good recipe for policy and law making. They never were. Too many politicians and elected officials want to put THEIR slant on things. or are influenced by others that do. I asked Michigan AG Cox if he could afford the attention he was to garner for not firing Shirvell who has been labeled a "bully" by CNN's Anderson Cooper. It's all a gross misuse of money and power.

    Posted by: J.Thebeau | Oct 5, 2010 12:18:21 PM


  9. According to the Bible,1. Married men who sleep with women not their wives; 2. Men who sleep with prostitutes; 3. Men who spill their "Seed" on the ground; and 4. Men who sleep with other men; are all to be put to death by stoning, and other means.

    Why do current day priests and ministers only care about condemning the men who sleep with other men??? The answer is easy - Both married ministers and priests (They are technically married to the "Church") commit adultery rather frequently; and pattronise prostitutes; and are not above a little masterbation now and then. So that leaves only sinners that are single and not bothering any one else, but want to show their love for another human being to preach against.

    Their GOD has made everything (According to these religious leaders); even homosexuals. So these religious "Nuts" are saying that God has made a mistake. When I die and go to the pearly gates, I would not want to have to justify telling God he made a mistake.

    Posted by: Jerry6 | Oct 5, 2010 5:09:43 PM


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