The case of a Rutgers University student who committed suicide after his roommate live streamed his sexual encounter with another young man has again raised questions about cyberbullying at universities.
A recent study found that gay kids four times more likely than straight kids to commit suicide.
It’s useful to understand the difference between “gateway” behaviors and blatant bullying. Gateway behaviors facilitate or reinforce bullying–they make disrespect seem normal (which facilitates bullying) or even rewarded (like laughing along with a bully). The difficulty is that there are usually no solid rules against gateway behaviors–so adults often ignore them. But research shows us how toxic they can be. In 2009 and 2010, MARC researchers found that it was the gateway behaviors that dominated victim reports. Focusing on the small stuff means understanding that we need to educate kids about the impact of even small behaviors and react when we see them happening.