Just as mobbing that has not been intercepted can spill into the community and follow an individual via rumors, it can travel even faster via cyberspace. In 2000, when I presented mobbing programs for a county here in Iowa, one of the county supervisors shared that this was happening at school to the daughter of a friend and they planned to enroll her in a different school. The mobbers at her current school had emailed students at the new school to get the process of isolation, humiliation, and abuse going before she even arrived.

The recent rash of cyber bullying reports along with the tragic suicides of young people subjected to this type of abuse, have indicators that follow the mobbing pattern and behaviors. Mobbing uses tactics such a spreading rumors, cruel jokes, discrediting the individual, isolation, intimidation, humiliation, and veiled threats. This subtle form of harassment wears out the target over time and can have tragic results.

The emotionally abusive process of mobbing shatters a person’s self esteem. It causes the target to question their self worth. In extreme cases, feelings of intense isolation and hopelessness can result in suicidal thoughts or successful acts of suicide. At the least, there are permanent scars that go unseen but impact the individual and others in their lives for years.

Mobbing, once begun, takes on a life of its own and is reminiscent of a verbal and emotional shark feeding frenzy. The targeted person is torn apart by attacks from many directions and the furor seems to attract others that often don’t even know the person they are attacking. They get caught up in the power trip of the situation and participate either intentionally or unintentionally.

A strong support system for targets often can help, but if people are not made aware of this behavior, how it starts, how it expands, how it gets out of control, and how ultimately destructive it is not only to the target but also to those perpetrating it, the awareness is reactive and sometimes too late. A proactive approach to mobbing by creating awareness and offering insights can not only stop mobbing before it gets out of hand but also can help all people recognize that their own personal dignity, self respect, and personal sense of integrity are compromised by participating in this type of process.

Author's Bio: 

Gail Pursell Elliott is author of the book School Mobbing and Emotional Abuse: See It - Stop It - Prevent It with Dignity and Respect,Brunner-Routledge ISBN 0 415 94551 8
This accessible and easy to use book has down to earth, real examples of what you can do to incorporate dignity and respect principles into your school, family and community.
Contact Gail through her website: