What is the difference between a bully and a prankster? A bully may use or threaten to use physical force to intimidate a victim whereas as a prankster's aim is usually to cause embarrassment or mental anguish to a victim while providing "entertainment" for others. Both are wrong and may lead to unintended consequences. Below are two stories involving one of each.
Tyler Clementi and Dharum Ravi were both 18-year-old freshmen roommates at Rutgers University. One night Tyler asked Dharum if he could use their room until midnight. Dharum agreed and went to visit his friend Molly Wei. But what Tyler did not know was that Dharum had hidden a camera in the room to spy on his roommate.
When Dharum turned on the camera remotely from his friend's room he saw his roommate engaging in sex with another man. He then sent out the following tweet:
‘Roommate asked me for the room till midnight. I went into Molly's room and turned on my web cam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.’
Tyler Clementi had no idea that what he thought was a private encounter was being recorded by his roommate. So two days later Tyler again asked his roommate if he could use the room. Dharum again agreed but this time he alerted his Twitter followers with the message:
hey, it's going to happen again. Tune in.
This time Dharum streamed the live video of the two men having sex. When Tyler found out that he had been videotaped he posted the following entry on his Facebook account:
“Jumping off the GW bridge sorry.”
And that is exactly what he did. On Sept. 22 2010, three days after being videotaped, Tyler Clementi committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.
Dharum Ravi and his friend Molly Wei have been arrested and face charges related to the death of Tyler Clementi. Dharum is currently free on $25,000 bail. They both face 5 years in prison if convicted.
Dharum and Molly
Next is the story of an 11-year-old boy named Tyler Wilson who attends Glenwood Middle School in Ohio. Tyler was attacked by bullies in his school and suffered a broken arm. Tyler had a dream which some of his classmates teased him about and some took it much further resulting in his injury. Tyler says this attack will not deter him from doing what he wants to do. Tyler wants to be a cheerleader.
Studies show that 1 in 3 Middle and High school students are the victims of bullying. Tyler Wilson put it this way:
"It feels horrible that they can't accept me for who I am.....It's my choice. If I want to be a cheerleader, I'm going to be a cheerleader."