Moan, moan, moan! ‘I’ll get you at playtime!’

Ever been beaten up in the cyberworld> No, neither have I. It happens, though, and I had a rant about it in Bill’s Underground Edition last Sunday. Here it is . . .


Remember the days when, if somebody at school at a grudge against you, they just took you behind the bike sheds and beat seven shades of crap out of you – or, if you were bigger, you turned the tables and beat seven shades of crap out of them? Good, old-fashioned healthy bullying. Don’t argue. It was good for you, and you know it.

It’s a bit different these days, though. There’s this thing called cyberbullying. It’s happening a lot. And there’s just been a report about it that says that, in the USA – where else? – a third of online teenagers have been cyberbullied.

It’s this crazy notion about sharing all your intimate details that does it. You join up to something such as MySpace, and put all your personal stuff on there. Do they put their breast size, their willy size, their bank details, their mobile phone’s entire directory of friends, their mother’s breast size, their dad’s – but you get the gist. I bet they do. The old-fashioned equivalent would have been going round the school with all this written on the back of the fag packet you’ve just emptied by having a crafty ciggy behind those bike sheds, and handing all your information to your friends – friends who will soon become enemies – to hand round.

But we didn’t do that, did we? So why are kids sharing all this stuff about themselves online, where dirty old men in cyber-raincoats lie in wait to do nasty things to them?

When I was a kid – and you, too, I dare gamble, dear listener, no matter how old you are – mothers told their kids not to talk to strangers. It’s harder to know online who’s a stranger, I know, but, blimey, what’s wrong with just keeping your personal stuff off there? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that. Why do they think banks and other online merchants use sophisticated security to protect people’s identities – and even then sometimes get it wrong? But why do they think they use them? For fun?

Now, OK, some of this bullying lark amounts to sending malicious emails about the place. So where’s the difference between that and rumours circulating your entire school, from mouth to ear, where people could actually look at you? The favourite at my school was ‘Andy John’s a poofter’, or ‘Andy John shags sheep’.  If both of those were true, it would mean I had an eye for rams, but I don’t. Because they smell. And I don’t like having intimate relations with things that smell.

But that’s by the bye.

Back to cyberbullying. OK, in the days of the cyber world, you can find your photograph or a video passed around so quickly, which you couldn’t before. Yes. I’ll concede that. But why put a video on there in the first place? It’s yampy. A video of you enjoying yourself doing nice dainty things such as having tea with the vicar, yes, but not shagging that bloke or bird on the kitchen table at your mate’s 16th-birthday party.

Or across the freezer cabinet.

In Sainsbury’s.

I’m afraid it’s something we’re going to have to live with. All innovation is a Pandora’s Box. And you open one of those every time you turn on your radio or select an excellent online radio service such as Celtica Radio. I mean, it’s one thing tuning in and getting me in your earhole. Think yourself lucky. You might get Bill Everatt. 


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About Andrew John

Andrew John is a writer, editor and broadcaster with Celtica, providing, among other things, a weekly moan on a topic in the news. He spends much of his life moaning and criticising, and is crap company at parties. But just humour him. He's not a bad bloke, really.

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