Banter has permeated modern society. We see, hear and experience it everywhere, from our interactions with friends and peers, to our classrooms, workplaces, television screens and online platforms. Now there is nothing wrong with engaging in a bit of friendly banter per se. After all, everyone enjoys a good joke. However, there are increasing concerns that banter may be used to elicit harmful, bullying behaviours towards individuals and groups in both offline and online domains. So, how do we know when banter has crossed the line?
Banter is as a form of bonding that occurs predominantly between friends to promote social cohesion. Often exemplified by exchanges of jocular humour such as mocking, insults and teasing, banter is said to serve a number of social functions, including relieving boredom, enhancing group affiliations, and making light of potentially awkward social and cultural differences. General perceptions of banter tend to be largely positive. Such exchanges between friends are often regarded as light-hearted and humorous.
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