The Icky Internet: The Rise of Trolls and Cyberbullying

By Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg

The PBS series Off Book explores the dark side of social media in their latest episode, interviewing experts from academia who are studying these issues. Alice Marwick, an Assistant Professor at Fordham University, explains that young people often don't think of their negative experiences online as bullying; they prefer the term "drama." This stance and the Internet's screen of anonymity enable bullying on a much larger scale than the halls of a school. Whitney Phillips, a lecturer at New York University who wrote her dissertation on online trolls, describes the complicated subculture that drives everything from petty commenting to seriously disturbing harassment. Finally, Andy Sellars at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society talks about the legal challenges around free speech and how websites are struggling to create policies to prevent bullying. Sellars says it's complicated; anonymity also empowers political dissidents and bullied kids alike to reach out for help. 

For more videos from PBS Off Book, visit http://video.pbs.org/program/off-book/.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/video/archive/2012/12/the-icky-internet-the-rise-of-trolls-and-cyberbullying/266226/