Massive Online Bullying

Back in my day, bullies had to show up, often with a couple of friends in tow, and threaten to bash your teeth in person.  Now bullies are often anonymous and can just dial it in. I came cross this paper today in my travels (caution: PDF):

Changes in the climate of higher education itself may be linked to some bullying incidents. Twale and De Luca (2008) write of the “rise of the aca demic bully culture” in which opportunism and social ineptitude does not support civility in intellectual interactions. Such behaviors, considered individually, often appear to be insignificant. However, considered in context and combined with other inappropriate behaviors they can have direct impacts on the quality of instructional experience for students…

The article goes on to describe incidences of teacher-on-teacher bullying, including mentor-on-teacher, and of course the classic case of the student bully.  This piece by yours truly has some interesting information on who is likely to get bullied (hint: obese kids, those not heteronormal, ugly and pretty girls (let’s just say girls, shall we?)).

I do wonder if the fundamental qualities of bullying and bullying culture have shifted with the adoption of new digital media.  Like, is it considered better or worse to be known as a bully?  Are the best bullies now the anonymous ones who don’t get caught?  Food for thought.