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Freedom-From-Bullying Expert and Child Advocate

My name is Paul Coughlin, newspaper editor, Fox News contributing writer, expert witness, school consultant, advocate of bullied children.

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  • With more children taking part in social media, what role do you see these avenues of communication having in the increased attention on the psychological drive that causes one to be a bully?

    What key psychological issues are being seen in those who are bullies that we can tie to the use and the ability to be somewhat private in the world of social media?

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    Bullies crave power, domination and control. They often receive pleasure from inflicting pain and suffering on others, which is part of the definition of sadism as well.

    So when it comes to social media, they have been given another avenue to do their dark work upon others in order to gain power, domination and control. For example, bullies are often tremendous gossips. They are often on the hunt for new information about their targets. So they throw out a big net to snag a lot of information. But they only use the information that is damaging or potentially damaging to their targets. Information that confirms the good character of their target, for example, isn't used. Isn't highlighted. It's discarded. This is because bullies aren't on the hunt for truth and accuracy about others. They want to smear others.

    So through social media, they can tell their stories of half-truths, twisted truth and so on. And if they can do it anonymously, even better for the bully.

    What gets their attention? When peers denounce their behavior with assertive but non-violent behavior. Bullies want a public display of pain and anguish on behalf of the target. And they want others to join them in the assault. Take away the bystander by having them become a Protector of others, and take away the public display of pain and anguish and there's no real payoff for the bully.

    The second thing that gets their attention is when they are bullied.