Cyberbullying is known to be a negative topic, and can cause many problems. However, there are many opinions about what defines cyber bullying and who is most affected by it. Wikipedia can be a good example of this. What I found interesting when I type in “Cyberbullying” into Wikipedia is that in the edits and talk section of the webpage, there are people debating the difference between cyberbullying in youth and adults. It instantly showed me the range of opinions that can arise from this topic.
For the most part in this cyberbullying article, everyone agreed on the definition of what cyberbullying is. The only real debate was around different terms for different ages. They also mentioned the term “trolling” in the article, which was a new term for me. One person said it is not cyberbullying but often confused with it, while someone else said it a provocative picture posted online or a fake account. To me these both seem like reasons for trolling to be labelled as cyberbullying. I typed trolling into the search engine on Wikipedia, and it said that it is someone who posts something irrelevant to conversation on a blog or forum with the “primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response” (Wikipedia). Personally, this is cyberbullying and if we were allowed to edit Wikipedia for this assignment that would be one point to edit. This is an example of why Wikipedia may be confusing and depending on the perspective taken, the information can seem wrong. In an article by Royal and Kapila (2009), What’s on Wikipedia, and What’s Not . . . ?: Assessing Completeness of Information, they also mention how Wikipedia is information based on the views of the writer, which makes it socially constructed and has a good chance of being bias.
Another section on the “talk” page of the Wikipedia article named Cyberbullying that was very intriguing was an edit someone proposed about cyberbullying and Wikipedia going hand in hand. This individual claims that Wikipedia and its editors are also cyberbullying, and that cyberbullying is constantly occurring on the website. They quote that “talk pages have left helpless victims stigmatized and unable to defend themselves as their edits are removed”. This may seem silly to some people, but to others it might make sense through their own personal experiences of feeling this way after posting on Wikipedia. With all the different opinions and perspectives, it has the ability to cause the information available to be good and unbiased, or wrong and controversial. This can be bad especially since Wikipedia is the one and only website for many individuals when trying to look up information on an event or specific person, as said in the article mentioned above by Royal and Kapila (2009). The cyberbullying article brings up a specific example of Canadian UNICEF artist, Terry Ananny. According to someone on the talk page, her name has been “ruthlessly and systematically referred to as a vandal and other unpleasant adjectives which remain on Wikipedia”. However, when I type in the name “Terry Ananny” into Wikipedia, I can’t find this cyberbullying that apparently remains on Wikipedia. Therefore, I don’t find this information very reliable, and underneath someone else writes that deleting articles off Wikipedia is not cyberbullying. This is a very good point because whether an innocent individual or a bully writes an article on Wikipedia, it is the information contained that matters. If false information is given, it will usually be deleted. Hence the word “usually”. However, I don’t think false information being deleted off an article should be considered cyberbullying.
Many of the other edits on the talk page revolve around grammar, and adding facts. Some of the facts seemed controversial to me though, and don’t seem valid. Someone posted that girls are more prone to being victimized by a cyber-bully. They say girls are more likely to have rude comments about them online, and be called vulgar names, whereas boys will have an embarrassing photo posted. This seems true to me, however I don’t believe girls are more victimized. Perhaps boys are just less likely to tell someone about the situation they are in. Being a psychology major, I assume that the source of these facts were from someone who possibly had a sampling bias occur, which caused them to gather bias information. Then again, perhaps my opinion is bias. When reading the Module 3 blog by colecrerar, I thought it was interesting that they mention their opinion about Wikipedia may be biased because through personal experience they know that it is a faster and easier way to gather information. Meanwhile, someone who has not used Wikipedia much, may read the information with doubts. I understand these doubts because Wikipedia allows anyone to write anything. In the article Military History on the Electronic Frontier: Wikipedia Fights the War of 1812 by Richard Jenson, it even says that Wikipedia is “written by and for the benefit of highly motivated amateurs” (Jenson, 2012). The fact that he calls the writers “amateurs” is enough to have me feeling like the information isn’t very reliable.
The concept of cyberbullying comes with many different perspectives, opinions, and views about what the proper definitions are, what a cyber-bully act consists of, etc. Wikipedia is a good way to show that these views may be biased, and people do have different opinions on the topic. With the website becoming more popular, and more individuals taking the time to edit articles and give their perspective and information, a major question arises: is this information reliable? I am personally cautious when reading Wikipedia articles, however there is always someone with the opposite opinion, such as @bigtuna09 who believes it is a great site and the information is as reliable as any other paper we will read online. With technology advancing constantly, the era we live in is finding new ways to cause harm to others, cyberbullying being one of them. However, I feel as if the problem may be hopeless in this era of creative inventions and new social media –well at least until something is invented or created to prevent it. Until that day, I suggest everyone to be careful what is posted online, and not to believe all information read on the internet. This goes along with what elisetakahashi says in her blog that it is the way we receive and read these articles that is important. I completely agree with this and everyone should do the same.
The picture posted below I thought was relevant because my chosen topic is cyber bullying, and even though this module was about Wikipedia, cyber-bullying often occurs over social network sites such as Facebook.
Royal, C. & Kapila, D. (2009). What’s on Wikipedia, and What’s Not . . . ?: Assessing Completeness of Information. Social Science Computer Review. 27, 1. pp 138-148.
Jensen, R. (2012). Military History on the Electronic Frontier: Wikipedia Fights the War of 1812. Journal of Military History. 76, 1. pp 1165-1182