Electronic bullying becoming problematic

Add e-bullying to your list of existential anxieties.

In Annie Hall, Woody Allen was unable to complete his homework due to his concern that "the universe is expanding." Update the film and he has "e-thugs" to worry about:

A third of US online teenagers have been victims of cyber-bullying according to research by the Pew Internet Project.

The most common complaint from teens was about private information being shared rather than direct threats.

Girls were more likely than boys to be targets and teens who share their identities online are the most vulnerable, the survey found.

But teenagers still think that the majority of bullying happens offline.

Some 32% of teenagers questioned had experienced one of more of the following: having a private e-mail, IM or text messaging forwarded or posted where others could see it, the victim of an aggressive email, IM or text message, having a rumour spread about them online or having an embarrassing photograph posted online without permission.

As more and more young people join social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook, so they are opening themselves and their personal information up to more people.

The survey found that 39% of social network users had been cyber-bullied in some way, compared to 22% of online teens who do not use social networks.

The sites themselves offer new avenues for bullies, the survey found.

Human nature never changes, does it, until we have fundamental shifts in consciousness ... conscious evolution ... awakening ... more compassion - frame the Love message in whatever religious or spiritual drapery befits, but no matter how you slice it, we have to get past the same old drudgery now dressed up with a "e." Call it "e-vice" if you prefer the old biblical language. The more gadgets the more heartache (and simultaneously the more creativity). GO figure. These are all pieces of the puzzle of public health, the face of human happiness. More meditation necessary, saturate all with prayer.

Oh, and I'm reminded of something Talmud-ish I learned a long time ago - "he who embarrasses his comrade in a public place has no place in the world to come." A drastic remedy no doubt but suggestive of the gravity of the injury. Please update the gender reference to suit your politics and substitute something for the word "comrade" to avoid intimations of communism, but you get the idea.

What about surrounding our peers with visualized bubbles of rose and gold light? Hmm, that's a thought - change the energy, love your neighbor as if he or she were you, because that is actually the case, not only metaphysically, but in our quantum physics.

That is the true face of social networking as I see it, the network that works, the net that connects, that is truly social.

Transhumanists worry about creating unfriendly AI, but in the meanwhile we apparently have to keep working at expanding friend HI (human intelligence) in our neocortical horizons. Spread the e-compassion.

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