Am I the only one that finds your opinion on the subject absolutely chilling? Does anyone who wishes it, deserve privacy or anonymity? In this "up to the nanosecond" media frenzy where it's OK for invasive reporting to pierce the most intimate part of our lives, where people routinely take their phones and email and work and extended family drama on vacation with them, where does one go for sanctuary? Is it really any wonder that people go off the deep end? Isn't it somewhat surprising that it doesn't happen more often? Sad, very sad if you ask me.Cyberbullying has more long-term ramifications than just being bullied in real life, despite if you have an online presence or not. I would argue that it may even be worse if you don't have an online presence, because the only things that will be about you online is what people say about you. Being bullied in real life may affect a person with a certain type of crowd, at worse case the whole graduating class. However, sites like twitter and facebook allows people you don't know to participate in the bullying and reaches a far greater amount of people. This results in more bullying from even more people in real life. This can utterly destroy a persons life, especially in smaller communities and the remnants of the bullying will live forever online onto college and into adulthood.
What if you had a daughter who was being bullied and was being called a slut and a whore online. Edited pictures of her could appear in compromising situations and this can pass from a small group of students to now the whole highschool. Now your daughter can't even go out in public without even being rediculed or older guys "testing" the slut reputation with her with unwanted advances. Let's say this now spreads to adults who are lead to believe that some of the rumors are true and now she is not welcome in their business or home. She won't be able to go to the prom or even go enjoy a highschool football game. Even her closest friends ditch her to avoid being associated with her. This could even become so far spread that now even you as her parents are looked negatively and it may affect your dealings with neighbors or business owners.
In small towns, this is devastating and anything short of moving away, your daughter will never have a good life there. There is a high probability that this will lead to your daughter having suicidal thoughts. This is just one example. Now replace it with an example where a son or daughter is rumored to be gay. Again, this is going to lead to suicide, especially if the parents are part of the problem and bullying the kid. Nothing worse than a kid being bullied by everyone, including their own parents.
On a slightly different note...
Your reputation online is now becoming an extension of who you are as a person in real life. The way you act and post stuff online shows how you are that most would not see otherwise. The most revealing information about a person is how a person acts or posts online when the person thinks they're anonymous. More and more jobs are using google as their background check and are adopting this process.
When I hire, I scour the internet for any bits of information about you that I may find. This is actually practiced by many of the bigger companies dealing with technology in OKC. I've had stellar applicants rejected because of alarming behavior or posts online. What most may not realize is that there have been cases where applicants have been turned down due to even a complete lack of identity online in favor of someone who has a healthy online presence. It's like a credit score... having a bad and/or average credit score is often times "better" than no credit score. Having no presence online usually tells me that a person is not comfortable with an online profile (kind of important if you work in the cutting edge world of web application development and web startups), you simply do not participate and therefore are missing out all the advantages of online communications, or you have gone to great lengths to hide yourself, which raises flags for me.
If you're over 40, you can probably get away with not ever dealing with online social websites and your online identity and how it relates to you in real life. However, it is going to matter a great deal for your children as their online presence becomes an extension of who they are in real life. They will be judged by their actions online and sometimes the way they act online is a better clue to the person they really are on the inside unfiltered. Similarly to some children who are overly-sheltered and/or home-schooled by their parents, some of these kids who grow up blocked from being social online and having profiles from their technophobe parents may not be able to deal with being able to have an online presence once the leash is gone and the kid goes to college. Some of these kids will not know how to have a balanced online identity that coincides with their real life identity.