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Confused. Just when did having an opinion or criticism become "bullying" ?

(19 Posts)
Day6 Mon 14-Jan-19 18:53:36

It seems now that if you disagree with someone on line and retain your opinion you have become a 'bully'.

What happened? Bullying to my mind is a concentrated attack which aims to deliberately upset someone,

Synonyms - persecute, oppress, tyrannize, torment, browbeat, intimidate, cow, coerce, strong-arm, subjugate, domineer

When did having a disagreement and stating an opinion become bullying?

Can people not agree to disagree online any more? I see this as an on-line phenomenon which has become exaggerated.

Tangerine Mon 14-Jan-19 19:55:00

I think choice of words and tone has a lot to do with it. Sometimes I am a little taken aback by the tone and content of people's posts on Gransnet and wonder if posters would be quite so forthright face to face.

sodapop Mon 14-Jan-19 20:18:23

I agree Day6 no pun intended. It will be a very bland Gransnet if there were no differences of opinion.

Mamissimo Mon 14-Jan-19 20:22:17

Being bullied is about how the recipient feels and if someone feels bullied that is how they feel and no one has the right to dismiss that. None of us know the exact effect of our words or actions on other people so being careful with our tone and language and respecting other people’s sensibilities goes a long way towards not being perceived as bullying. It’s particularly hard when our opinions and beliefs are passionately held because the language will automatically become stronger and more assertive....or bullying if the recipient feels personally attacked.

Written exchanges of opinions are a minefield!

janeainsworth Mon 14-Jan-19 20:38:04

mamissimo As long as we are not fomenting hatred, or inciting violence, we should be free to express our opinions without worrying about how others feel about them.
Of course, if our opinions are odious to others, and it’s reasonable to assume that other people will regard them as odious, then we must expect that others will strongly disagree with us.
But I don’t think merely posting an odious opinion is bullying.
Bullying really has to be an ad hominem attack, directed at a particular person.

Mamissimo Mon 14-Jan-19 20:47:45

The minefield occurs when there is an exchange of opinions that develops into a conversation, rather than posting and running. Stating the case is one thing, arguing it is a completely different affair. Discussions or arguments on social media would never happen in real life because we rarely share verbally with strangers that we meet. On social. Edit we can’t see the faces and expressions of those reading the comments so we miss the subtlety of when it’s time to rein it back. That’s why written arguments can get toxic.

Mamissimo Mon 14-Jan-19 20:48:45

Sorry - on social media we can’t!

phoenix Mon 14-Jan-19 20:54:53

Whilst I appreciate that it can sometimes be difficult to get the "tone" of a post, there have been a few instances recently where the expression of disagreement has actually seemed to be offensively directed towards another poster, so perhaps that might be regarded as a "bullying" post?

Tough one though, admittedly.q

M0nica Mon 14-Jan-19 21:00:16

It suits some people to say they are being bullied, even though they know they are not because it gives them an unfair advantage in a discussion.

Divawithattitude Mon 14-Jan-19 21:07:18

It is also about perception too, one persons view of bullying can be very different to another persons. A child may tell you they are being bullied because another child won't let them play in their game with them, children learn resiliance skills to cope with criticism and rejection and sometimes adults struggle with those same skills.
The problem on Gransnet arises when remarks become personal and pointedly so .

dragonfly46 Mon 14-Jan-19 21:07:45

I do think there are some people on here who are just deliberately provocative, not necessarily bullies but they do not take peoples feelings into account and just make a comment to deliberately wind people up.

PECS Mon 14-Jan-19 21:19:50

I think the B word is used too often both on and off line. For bullying there has to be, imo, an imbalance of power. Online that is more difficult to ascertain between 2 people who do not actually know each other.. such as on this forum.

If threats of violence are made as to celeb s/ politicians etc. that is a crime in itself.

Bullying is unacceptable wherever it takes place and it is not right to put robust debate or disagreement in the same category. Those whose lives are blighted by bullying deserve better support than that.

Lily65 Mon 14-Jan-19 21:24:48

Bullying is a sustained and personal attack, not just somebody who you disagree with on a forum.

BradfordLass72 Mon 14-Jan-19 21:25:57

I once stopped a friend's 9 year old child from using my new sofa as a trampoline ans was accused of being aggressive.
I felt I was being assertive, especially as his accusing mother had said nothing to stop him.

I think it's possibly more important with the written opinions on Gransnet, to try to express your own ideas kindly, especially as in so many case, posters are vulnerable and hurting and looking for answers - not harsh criticism.

Grammaretto Mon 14-Jan-19 21:51:19

Having been victim of on-line bullying, I can assure you that there's been nothing as bad on here.
A group I was in were constantly ridiculed and impersonated in a nasty, vicious way on a local forum. The perpetrators were anonymous, ofcourse, but they knew who we were, and it got so personal we reported them to the police and a lawyer, as some of our group were scared.
We were told to ignore them completely and within 6 months it will have stopped. It did. These trolls need the oxygen of a response. I think they got bored.

Grannyknot Mon 14-Jan-19 22:39:06

I want to apologise if my posts sometimes seem blunt. I am aware of on occasion just firing off a quick response to what I perceive to be the crux of the matter - typing on my phone - and then afterwards I realise I didn't say please or thank you smile

Razzy Tue 15-Jan-19 00:42:09

I think a normal discussion is fine, but when one person starts to ridicule another, use abusive language or encourages others to attack someone it is not ok. When posting I always think ‘what would I say if face to face?’ I have experienced bullying and there is a fine line between having an argument and bullying. I think listening and considering the other person’s point of view is very important.

PECS Tue 15-Jan-19 19:05:32

I agree with the poster who suggests some people can use an accusation of bullying to close down a debate. I find that a despicable action. So many suffer from real bullying, in all walks & stages of life. To " play the bullying card" shows poor respect for true sufferers.

notentirelyallhere Tue 15-Jan-19 20:57:00

It's very hard to hear the tone of a written post or to understand the context behind what a person says. Bullying can include comments intended to belittle and undermine or crafted in such a way as to present opinion as fact. Some threads become very heated and feel frightening and off-putting. If someone is vulnerable or lonely then they might feel bullied and who has the right to tell that virtually unknown person that they are wrong?