The bully in the bedroomSuch an impact is played out in real time in Channel 4’s 2015 television drama “Cyberbully”, in which Masie Williams plays Casey Jacobs: a character who is both a victim and a perpetrator of cyberbullying. As the drama unfolds we witness Casey’s ordeal as she falls for the attack of an online hacker who then takes over her social media accounts in a bid to cause distress and suffering to Casey as a form of retribution for hurtful comments Casey made to another student. At no point does the action leave the ‘safety’ of Casey’s bedroom.Writing in the Guardian, Filipa Jodelka described the film in the following terms:
It’s true that real life lacks the stings, and maybe even some of the drama, of the Channel 4 film. But there are themes at play, and they reflect the motivations outlined by Professor Chris Kyriacou in our video for this step. There he identifies four main motives for cyberbullying:…weirdly [“Cyberbully”] is billed as factual, presumably on the basis that everything that unfolds has happened to someone, somewhere… [The makers] have got it right, on one condition: that it’s not viewed as a realistic depiction of cyberbullying at all, but as a kind of millennial ghost-in-the-machine spine-chiller instead, replete with traditional horror devices (Faustian pacts, anonymous ghouls, tests of morality), mild peril and creepy strings.
- Fun – Comedy so often relies on a fall-guy; a victim. Great amusement can be extracted at the expense of others.
- Interest – It’s fascinating to explore what you can and can’t get away with: the bullying verges upon scientific study.
- Pain – Some people just really enjoy the ability they have to cause distress to another person.
- Moral revenge – The bully is acting in retribution for something the victim has done. In other words, the bullying was deserved. As the vigilante of “Cyberbully” puts it: “You think you’re the victim? You’re not the victim you’re the cyber bully!”
Want to keep
University of York online course,
- Gabriella Coleman (2014). Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous. London: Verso Books.
- Chris Kyriacou & Antônio Zuin (2014). “It’s the permanence of online abuse that makes cyberbullying so damaging for children”, The Conversation, 31st July 2014.
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