Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Cyber-Bullying Fight in Turkey

By David Simms, Senior Contributor
Cyber-bullying has been spreading through the country of Turkey, particularly amongst young people. A recent poll conducted in ─░stanbul by the Young Life Foundation organisation shows that one third of all school age children suffer from the violence and humiliation of this growing problem. I can attest to the fact that this is not an isolated occurrence, rather something we are seeing more and more regardless of country or region. What sets the Turkish problem apart though is that there is a much higher degree of violence associated with cyber bullying as compared to other countries. It also follows that young males are twice as likely to be bullied online that females there. The true reasons for this cannot be stated with confidence, but it is clear that the Turkish culture has much to do with it. Domestic abuse is extremely common in Turkey so children are much more likely to become exposed to aggression and violence at a young age.  When children see their parents or other adults acting out, it forms a foundation of reality saying ‘it is okay to do this to other people.’ In Turkish culture, men are considered dominant on all fronts. They are always heads of households and respected above women. This may be the reason such a disproportionate number of young boys are both executors and recipients of cyber harassment. It is viewed as a mark of strength to dominate others and is many times condoned to do so. The internet therefore is merely an extension of this mind-frame and behaviour. Also the fact that smart technology and internet access has become very affordable even to the poorest of people, bespeaks the rising trends seen there. 
So far there is nothing new of note as to the mode of cyber-harassment taking place in Turkey –   there was a recent example of a woman from ─░zmir province whose boyfriend uploaded sexual images of her to various internet sites in order to take revenge after she left him. She subsequently lost her job and family as a result. The difference however is in the frequency such events are beginning to happen with a growing number ending in suicide.   

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