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Mean Women: Grown Up Cyber-Bullies

Published: Thursday, November 18, 2010 @ 2:24 PM
Updated: Thursday, November 18, 2010 @ 2:38 PM

From snide comments to personal attacks to just plain mean words, experts say anytime you are harassed, humiliated or threatened online it's cyber bullying!

Recently, Gina Moore-Sanders said she posted a creative story on an internet bulletin board. Soon, cyberbullies began taking swings at her.

"They said expletives, profanity that I was stupid and I was crazy," said Moore-Sanders.

Dr. Cheryl Dellasega, author of Mean Girls Grown Up, says this Internet finger pointing may be even more common among adult women. She has seen message boards and websites shut down over word wars! The bullying can be one rude comment, or a string of them. It can take place through e-mail, social networking sites, even instant messages.

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"The topics that women are cyberbullied about are really endless. It could be a romance. It could be your parenting practices," said Dellasega.

Romi Lassally runs TruuConfessions.com, an anonymous online confession booth for women. She believes part of the reason women bear their claws is insecurity. "We probably see cyberbullying…maybe 1 in 10 confessions, maybe 2 in 10 comments. We don't want to post it. We want to offer a judgment free, safe place for women," Lassally said.

Dr. Dellasega believes it could also be a simple case of mean girls growing into mean adults. She says anonymity also comes into play, causing many women to say things they normally wouldn't in person.

What can you do if someone is being downright dirty online? What if you feel the need to respond?

Dr. Dellasega said, "They want you to fire back. The best thing to do is to turn off the computer and walk away."

Experts said there are a few simple rules to follow if you become the victim of a cyberbully.

Don't respond to them or engage in conversation.

Keep all abusive emails in a folder. If you are ever forced to take legal action, this will be your evidence.

If you don't respond to the bully and the harassment continues, you may need to seek help from the police. Sometimes the bully may have mental problems and could be dangerous.

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