July 31, 2011

Traits

I recently came across this interesting article about a study conducted by the American Psychological Association. It outlines a number of key traits found that make it possible to predict who will become a bully, and a victim.

As far as the traits bullies share, I find the adult bullies I have seen online have many of them. As one who has witnessed more cyber bullying among moms than I would like, I have identified these traits:
  • The adult cyber bullies I have witnessed or encountered don't have a lot of friends. If you look at their blogs and/or social media profiles, they don't have a large number of friends/followers. Whether that is by choice (they don't like to socialize) or a result of their personalities/actions, I can't say. But I have yet to see an adult cyber bully with a large social network.
  • The language adult cyber bullies use tends to be angry, bitter and confrontational. When challenged, they are unable - or unwilling - to come up with a rational response. They simply attack again and again without actually addressing the issue at hand or attempting to engage in civil discourse.
  • As I have said before, women have a tendency to bully in groups. In fact, that is the main type of mom-to-mom bullying I have witnessed or encountered online. Which is very telling about the people engaging in that behavior, especially when you read the APA report.
One of the biggest takeaways for me from that study is the importance of family environment as a causative factor. And I really feel The Mom Pledge is not just about us. It's about our children. It's about showing them what is right, and making sure we provide an environment in our homes that does not lead to bullying behavior, or to them being a victim.

These are simply my observations as a non-trained person observing in unscientific ways. If you have witnessed or encountered cyber bullying among moms, or any adults, what traits have you observed? Do you think the APA findings are interesting?

As a follow up to last week's post, I read this article recently about how the anonymity of the internet leads to a behavior known as "Deindividuation." Really interesting stuff!
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