You’ve been poked: bullying, harassment and everyday undercurrents

A few years ago a friend who was new to Facebook asked me: ‘what is a poke? Is it bad or good?’ In my naivety I had assumed it simply meant to virtually prod someone, a form of an annoying but friendly ‘hello, come talk to me’. Until then the fact that it could be used to irritate or as a form of flirting had never crossed my mind. Poking to me had seemed liked harmless fun, but its potential to incite irritation, or be used as a sexual invitation, stopped my poking in its tracks, and a new side to social networking was revealed to me. Within the friends and frivolity of games and conversations lay the potential to be harassed. Bullying and harassment have become common within ...

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