The article is on the tragic story of a gay teen who committed suicide after being surreptitiously filmed with a lover, captured through a webcam by his room mate.
It’s well worth reading in full and during the piece it makes the point, based on a recent study by two sociologists, that many teens do not see online harassment in the same way as adults, because it doesn’t help them manage the situation within their social circle.
A recent paper by two scholars of new media—Alice Marwick, of Harvard, and Danah Boyd, of N.Y.U.—describes the tendency of teen-age girls to categorize even quite aggressive behavior as mere “drama,” in the same category as online gossip and jokes. Policy-makers and television anchors talk of “bullies” and the “bullied,” but teen-agers tend not to, in part because “teens gain little by identifying as either,” the scholars explain. “Social stigmas prevent teens from recognizing that they are weak, and few people are willing to admit that they purposefully hurt others. . . . ‘Drama’ also implies something not to be taken seriously, to be risen above, while the adult-defined ‘bullying’ connotes childishness or immaturity to teenagers.”
In the academic article the researchers note that “Understanding how “drama” operates is necessary to recognize teens’ own defenses against the realities of aggression, gossip, and bullying in networked publics. Most teens do not recognize themselves in the “bullying” rhetoric used by parents, teen advocates, and mental health professionals.”
An important point when we’re trying to communicate with teens on how to stay safe and sane online.