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Topic : 01/08 Cyber Bullies

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Created on : Friday, January 04, 2008, 02:07:51 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
You've heard the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” But what happens when someone posts malicious comments about you on the Internet? This trend, known as e-vengeance or cyber bullying, can have deadly consequences. Thirteen-year-old Megan Meier committed suicide after being taunted on MySpace by “Josh,” whom she believed to be a cute teenage boy. Unbeknownst to her parents, Ron and Tina, Josh’s profile was fake, which they believe was created by an adult neighbor to monitor Megan. Was this a case of freedom of speech, or harassment? A state senator proposing anti-cyber-bullying legislation and a First Amendment attorney weigh in. Then, Colorado councilwoman Sandy Tucker made national headlines when she posted a controversial joke online. When the mayor asked her to remove remarks he considered offensive, Sandy refused and then resigned. She doesn't feel the need to apologize and says people need to lighten up. Holly lives in Sandy's town, and joins the show via Web cam to tell the former councilwoman why the joke is no laughing matter. Plus, meet a man who says he's constantly taunted by racist slurs while playing Xbox Live. Join the discussion.

Find out what happened on the show.

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January 8, 2008, 8:44 am CST

01/08 Cyber Bullies

Quote From: chevysrme

I agree with everything on this episode except the man that was crying about being harrassed while playing video games  If you have a problem with someone on XBox Live then you  can block all communications from that gamer.  You can also choose to avoid that gamer for all future games.  As far as his kids playing online he needs to be a responsible parent and set up an underage account for his children.  It blocks all communication from other users except for friends added to his childrens list which the parent will need to enter a password.  XBox Live automatically sets parental controls an all accounts that the birth date does not equal 18.  So if the parent chooses to lie on their kids birthdate then he is to blame.  One more thing.  There is no way that an individual can find out your exact address on XBox Live or by looking up your Gamer Tag from Google.

My son works for Microsoft and is a manager for The BIG X and I know for a fact that this guy was talking through his "hat" BUT hey who knows when you are scared and not knowing how far your mind will take you..

ANYWAY, you are correct in everything you said*

January 8, 2008, 8:46 am CST

Re: Cyber Bullies - The Harassed Man on Xbox Live

I am glad Dr. Phil addressed this problem, because it is way out of hand. 

I am an avid on-line gamer, it's a great way to pass time when my knee injury flares up and I have to force myself to take it easy.  I don't know how far I can go without sounding like I'm plugging something inappropriately, but I've been made one of the administrators of a gaming community called Sonic Army (website is forgive my plug, please), and I've taken on a campaign to improve the behavior of on-line gamers.  I've tried creating my own website for helping people like this gentleman, but due to some technical difficulties, I've resorted to enlisting the resources of my fellow Sonic Army friends to continue both gaming and promoting better on-line play.  One of my contributions is a "Multi-player's Code of Honor," in which I call upon fellow gamers to think about how they play on-line and how it affects other gamers.  Here is a link to the Code of Honor:

In regards to the gentleman whom encounter the potty-mouth sore losers: 

I find it bad on Microsoft's part that it takes a call from Dr. Phil in order to get a problem addressed on Xbox Live.  They have a wildly successful product, but it has grown to the point that they can not police their service effectively.  However, given the size of the problem, we as gamers have to understand that for most part - the on-line community is much like the wild west.  Xbox Live's community tools are the closest thing we have on any on-line game that gives us some controls - such as the "Player Review" that helps us pick who we like playing and who we want to avoid, and the Friend's List that allows us to control who we play on-line.

Where Xbox Live fails is on the games that block the friends options, such as the "Ranked" play lists where gamers are prevented from stacking the games in their favor by playing with friends whom will help them cheat.  It is in these sessions where you will encounter the worst of what this gentleman encounters.

Troublemakers on On-line Games come in two general varieties:

The "Chipmunk."  This is the slang term for the very young players, usually ages 7 to 12, whom try to trash talk like an adult.  It it quite obvious that there is no parent in the room when these kids play (or at least one that Dr. Phil should do an intervention on.)  I will spare you the details on what they say on-line, just imagine what the man on this show heard - but by someone too young to know what those words are.  If my mother ever caught me saying what some of these children say on here, she would make me go to the back yard and "break a switch."

Then there's the grown up trash talker, whom this gentleman encountered, whom knows exactly what he was saying over the mic.  Most of this kind of talk is a combination of "smack-talk" used to intimidate the other player and affect how he plays.  The rest of it is just sour grapes for losing. 

The best advice I can give for dealing with these trouble making gamers:

1: Use the Player Review and File Complaint systems.  As the show pointed out, it takes up to ten complaints for Microsoft to take action.  I am glad for that, because some of these sore losers will file complaints against you just for beating them at a game - and if all it took was one complaint, there would a lot of good people being banned from Xbox Live as well as bad people.

2.  When possible - always play with friends.  My game clan is full of people whom I know, people who will watch my back if someone tries to cause trouble, and I will also do the same for them.  Besides, if it takes 10 complaints, its much easier to have a pad player banned if you have nine friends to witness the bad player and file a complaint with you.

3.  "Do onto others as you would have done unto you. . ."  It was sound advice in Biblical times, it's still sound advice today.  If you play respectful to your fellow gamers, it rubs off.  Even when you tell a potty mouth player "Good Game," even if he replies with an obscenity - it still rubs off on him a little.

4.  Parents of young gamers - GET INVOLVED WITH YOUR CHILD'S GAMING.  An Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Nintendo Wii is NOT A BABYSITTER!  Game publishers rate their games just like movies are rated.  And if the game has on-line options, all on-line games have the message "Game Experience May Change During On-line Play."  This means that even on a game as innocent as "Uno," even the best player will let slip a few bad words when he or she loses.

5.  Most important of all - DO NOT SHARE PERSONAL INFORMATION on public chat rooms, blogs, or anywhere that does not offer privacy protection.  The anonymity that gives these potty mouth troublemakers the freedom to threaten and insult also makes it hard for them to know who you are or where you are.  And one good thing I can say for Microsoft, they make it very hard for the average troublemaker to get your personal information.  For most part, these troublemakers are not "hacker smart," and if all they have is your Xbox Live gamer tag to Google, the less information you share about yourself while using that gamer tag, the less will show up on Google.

Sorry for the long-winded post, but I hope I have provided enough expertise on how to deal with cyber-bullies while gaming. 

January 8, 2008, 8:55 am CST

i m on imvu and i have a group of people bulling me

 i am being cybered bullied and it by a group..i chatted to a man from england about a yr ago and since then him and his friends have been attacking me and i have called my local cops and they said they will not even worry with it..i can't back out of this because i am fool to have put thoundsands of dollars in it..i love making the graphics and rooms..they maybe hacked into my computer but no one seems to care and imvu said call my local cops well i have and i have also contacted the england police in his area(the Man) he gave me his address thinking i would send him a computer,, i wasn't born yesterday.. i may not be book smart but very street smart and know there is fool out here that would take you down.. but i do not bother these people i finally went on his page yesterday to block him and some reason my block button don't work.
i have begged for help from imvu but they just say the same thing and i get nothing but more trouble i worry if i bother IMVU to much they may kicked me off so i lay back and be abused ,, i have gave names and all if you can you give me some advice what i should do ,,i feel i have gotting into too deep to pull out of this and will lose all i put in i will not put in no more but i have to try and entertain myself as i am home 99% of the time due to my health.
my real friends say i am to nice for anything but i believe thats how i was to be and i am me and only me so please any advice you can give i will be happy..thank you HoneyChild
January 8, 2008, 9:24 am CST

Cyber Bullies

I am so happy this is the topic today!  It is out of control!  I think there should be a law about cyber harrassment!  I know it is freedom of speech,  but when people abuse the situation it has to be addressed!  I think this must be handled by our government and there should be a stop put to it!

Thank you Dr. Phil for today's show.  My husband and I watch you daily .  We DVR your show and watch it during dinner! 


January 8, 2008, 9:49 am CST

Sympathy, concern & legislation

My heart goes out to the parents of the 13 year old child who committed suicide - the loss of a child is devistating, no matter how it happens. 


From a parent's point of view, I am responsible for any damage my child may cause - so is the woman who is changing her story about her involvement.  If my child damaged someone's car - I would have to make financial restitution.  Maybe my child would stand in jouvenille court for trial, judgement and punishment, but ultimately it would be up to me as the parent to make sure that my child fulfilled whatever that punishment entailed.  I wonder why the mother of the "false-account" child thinks that it is not her responsibility. 


I was surprised that some people truly think the internet is a "civil right"; but also surprised about the FBI's lack of involvement in the situation.  The FBI is supposed to be about concerned about crimes in this country, aren't they?


I appreciated the Senator explaining that safety is the civil right issue in this case, not the right to play games on the internet. I also appreciate that he is going about this slowly.  It's frustrating, but slowly is so much better than "knee jerk legislation".  I also don't understand why people think that  "laws" are going to really help an internet situation. 


The internet is international - our laws don't apply anywhere else in the world.  Yes, if people are in this country we might be able to prosecute a situation, but what if the offender is in a different state?  The Senator on the show, I believe, was a State Senator, not a federal one.  Laws in his state won't affect an internet bully from another state. The Prosecutor and the Senator are right that our laws need to be updated and reflect our current technology, but that takes the issue from state to federal; and right now, federal is more interested in campaigns than legislation.

January 8, 2008, 10:12 am CST

Ciber Bullies

    If you felt you wouldn't be safe saying those words, while walking down a crowded street.   Don't say it on the internet.  Laws need to catch up with technology.
January 8, 2008, 10:24 am CST

expression vs oppression

This is such a complicated issue, because of these modern ways of communicating it seems a groundswell of expression is gushing forth. Does this speak to American people's isolation and loneliness. Makes me think of the woman from Jena, LA on Dr. Phil's show who said "there is no racism in Jena". I do know we can't be in denial when we witness the words, even if we don't experience the behavior. I heard another young women on a documentory about identity that said her dark poetry and humor saved her from cutting, a behavior her friends chose. For the most part I think clear thinking adults know when the line is crossed from expression to verbal violence. My local newspaper opened a response feature for our area newspaper web-version. The ugly things we say in an attempt to make our point goes beyond respectful debate and diologue, thank heavens we have what seems to me fair and rational blogmasters. America, we're a young culture, keep expressing yourself because somehow we came to believe we had nothing to say.
January 8, 2008, 11:04 am CST


I don't think our four fathers could for see there would be an inter/net, it took me 13 years to get my diploma but even I'm smart enough to know that when they wrote the the first amendment it was to give you the freedom of speech but I think the Constitution as a hole was a guide line for all people to conduct there self as ladies and gentleman, but when people use the first amendment to do there dirty deeds with intent to harm another person then the law should deal with them to protect us all, the human race.


January 8, 2008, 11:36 am CST


I think it's horrible that the government has not stepped in yet! I feel it's the same as making threats on a computer on line which the government doesn't tolerate. You can get a protection order if someone makes a direct threat of your life. So whats the difference? They are in fear of their family's well being so it should be taken as seriously as a direct face to face threat!! Or the same as if it was made during a phone call. The x-box is mainly marketed for children and young adults so why wouldn't Microsoft also be held responsible? None of it makes any sense?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
January 8, 2008, 11:55 am CST

Unbelievable that this is not illegal

I find it incredible that falsly posing as a minor to gain the confidence of another minor is not illegal. If the older woman was a man she would have been viewed as a sexual predator. What she has done is no less offensive than what a pedophile trying to contact your child and just as questionable. Her actions are completely inappropriate and she should be legally restrained from having interaction or contact with minors in the future.
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