In order to understand the theoretical construct of iPredator, in relationship to cyber bullying, the reader will benefit from first reviewing the definition. The definition of iPredator developed by this writer in 2011 is as follows:
iPredator: A child, adult or group who engages in exploitation, victimization, stalking, theft or disparagement of others using information and communications technology (ICT.) iPredators are driven by deviant fantasies, desires for power and control, retribution, religious fanaticism, political reprisal, psychiatric illness, perceptual distortions, peer acceptance or personal and financial gain. iPredators can be any age, either gender and not bound by socio-economic status or racial/national heritage.
iPredator is a global term used to describe all online users who engage in criminal, deviant or abusive behaviors using information and communications technology (hereafter, ICT.) iPredator includes all online users engaged in nefarious and/or abusive online behaviors. Whether the offender is a cyber bully, cyber stalker, cyber criminal, online sexual predator, internet troll or cyber terrorist, they fall within the scope of iPredator.
Most agree we are social pack creatures and our natural instincts are to protect our young, care for them and naturally believe they are not as clever or shrewd as adults are. All global cultures assume children are inherently good with a reservoir of adaptive potential waiting to be fostered. Having this adaptive potential, we tend to perceive children who behave in abusive and/or deviant ways, are in need of assistance, love and corrective actions. For the reasons described, society has never addressed bullying as a serious facet of the pediatric experience requiring focus.
Prior to the age of ICT, the problem of bullying was localized and restricted to the town and community from where it was happening. Although schools and families addressed bullying, it was viewed with minimal societal concern. In order for a societal shift and the world to change this misperception, there needed to be an event that changed these notions. This incident happened here in the United States in 1999.
It all changed on April 20, 1999. Two seniors, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, attending Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado embarked on a massacre, killing 12 students and 1 teacher. They also injured 21 and 3 were injured while attempting to escape. The pair then committed suicide. It is the fourth-deadliest school massacre in United States history, after the 1927 Bath School disaster, 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, and the 1966 University of Texas massacre. The Columbine School Massacre remains the deadliest for an American high school.
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were severely disturbed and either bullied or ostracized and teased for being different. After 12 years since the horrific event, questions of the two being bullied remains controversial. This writer's analysis of their writings, videos and the case's news accounts remains inconclusive as to whether or not these two young men were in fact bullied. What is clear is they both exhibited a dangerous sense of social detachment and dissonance that resulted in their heinous actions.
One of Eric Harris' last journal entries read: "I hate you people for leaving me out of so many fun things. And no don't ! say, 'Well that's your fault,' because it isn't, you people had my phone #, and I asked and all, but no. No no no don't let the weird-looking Eric KID come along." As he walked into the school the morning of April 20, Harris' T-shirt read, Natural Selection. Dylan Klebold, on the other hand, was anxious and dark, describing his life in his journal as "the most miserable existence in the history of time." Klebold also wrote, "I have always been hated, by everyone and everything." On the day of the attacks, Klebold's T-shirt read, Wrath.
As illustrated in their writings, Harris and Klebold perceived their existence quite differently, but both shared the common goal of planning and killing as many of their peers as possible. Both of these young men felt their peers treated them with disdain and jeered them. As the years have passed and ICT has introduced cyber bullying to the pediatric developmental experience, state and federal governments do their best hoping to prevent another horrific event similar to the Columbine School Massacre.
Keep in mind the categories of cyber bullies described and the potential response from those involved whether they be aggressor, target child or both. There is a good chance the reader will be a parent and/or educator interacting with children on a daily basis who all are actively involved in online activities. Among these children are those engaged in cyber bullying others, those being cyber bullied, and those actively cyber bullying and being bullied simultaneously.
The question for the reader to answer is if they are adept at identifying, intervening and solving destructive child and adolescent relationships effectively. Developing cyber bullying profiling techniques is the first step. This writer suspects those who engage in cyber bullying without genuine perceived and/or distorted justifications are most likely segment of cyber bullies to develop into nefarious characters in adulthood. As for those being cyber bullied, the target child with a history of repressed anger & depression, social detachment and ostracized by peers are at a higher probability for destructive and/or self-destructive tendencies.
Of those children who are not engaged in cyber bullying or being cyber bullied, they fall into the "bystander" category. The cyber bystander is a passive participant that recognizes the abuse and victimization, but does little out of fear of becoming a target of the cyber bully or his/her friends. The population of cyber bystanders is one group educators can help to mobilize. With proper and persistent training, cyber bystanders can become proactive and cease passively accepting the abusive behaviors their witnessing.