Posted on September 11, 2017
Today we are all wired to the Internet and technologies. The world that once could not imagine the possibility to talk to a person in a different country sitting at home, now can see a person and communicate with them as if they are talking face-to-face. The Internet opened the world of unique opportunities and possibilities, as well as of new dangers. Nowadays, we face a new way of bullying that is cyber bullying. Tons of people, especially teenagers, become the victims of aggression, embarrassment and harassment online. The worst thing is that many do not even realize that they are being bullied.
As an adolescent, I am truly concerned with what is happening on the Internet. My classmates, my friends and I can also become the victims of cyber bullying. That is why I have decided to study the concept of bullying, find out the reasons why people do that and see who is to blame. Finally, my aim is to analyze and come up with the ways to stop cyber bullying.
While the Internet has long become a dangerous place with all the viruses and programming faults, today it has become a dangerous place for people. The cases of cyber bullying have increased over the last years and this has to stop. Children, teenagers and adults become the victims of digital bullying. It leads not only to low self-esteem and deep depressions, but it also ends up with suicide.
Cyber bullying is a problem affecting different countries worldwide. I have chosen to examine the issue in the USA, as there are many documented incidents and the percentage of cyber bullies and the victims is truly high. In my cyber bullying essay I will pay attention to truly shocking incidents that shows the significance of the problem of digital bullying.
As the situation with cyber bullying is becoming dire, the US government has already imposed laws regarding the issues. Many states have already started controlling and regulating cyber bullying as well as the traditional one. Despite the fact that the Internet allows anonymity for anybody, the society still tries to find the ways to stop it from happening. In my paper, I will try to analyze these ways, as I am truly concerned with the issue. I will develop the research question: ‘How can cyber bullying be stopped?’
In this paper, I will define the main concepts, report and analyze the incidents, show statistics and try to investigate the ways to stop cyber bullying.
Cyber bullying is a situation when a person is being threatened, humiliated, embarrassed, tormented and hurt by another person using text messaging, e-mails, or any other type of digital technologies. Cyber bullies can post some humiliating information about a person online. The victim of cyber bullying can often be ridiculed on forums and social media by a group of people. A cyber bullying situation can be of different character, still one thing that is similar is humiliation.
A cyber bully is a person who torments other people’s lives using digital technologies. On the one hand, a cyber bully is no different than a traditional bully. They humiliate, laugh at, and threaten others to feel more confident themselves. Cyber bullies get satisfaction when others suffer. This is how they feel stronger. On the other hand, cyber bullies can often be the victims of bullying themselves. As the research shows, those who bully are often more depressed than their victims. Bullies want to have power and they find it by humiliating and threatening others.
The harmful effects of cyber bullying lead to depression, nervous break downs and even suicide. Tons of people are hurt on the Internet and the consequences can be truly tragic.
When a person becomes the victim of cyber bullying, the first emotions are often those of confusion. Cyber bullies like to work in groups, as this is how they feel stronger together. Usually, there is no particular reason why they do that. That is why it is difficult for a victim to understand why they are being targeted. Bullies are just mean and this is the way to feel powerful. However, they do not take into account how they hurt their victims.
Those who are bullied at school often start getting low grades. Children do not want to go to school or to go outside. They start feeling lonely. The longer a person is bullied, the more difficult it is for them to find new friends and communicate. The victims of bullying become depressed and feel helpless, as they often do not know where and who to turn to help for. Examining all the harmful effects of cyber bullying, it is clear that it should be stopped, but the question is how can it be stopped?
It is truly important to know how to protect ourselves. When a person feels that they are being targeted by a cyber bully, they need to take actions immediately. First of all, do not take the bully seriously. Ignore them both online and in real life if you see this person. Remember, that a bully is looking for a victim and if you are not susceptible to their threats, the bullies will leave you alone. Secondly, it would be a good idea to turn to a counselor or parents for help and advice. Finally, do not let a bully get into your mind and influence your self-esteem.
A problem that leads to depression and anxiety cannot be left unnoticed. While teenagers do not often regard cyber bullying as a real problem, most adults are truly concerned with this issue. Even though many people claim that there is nothing real on the Internet, the incidents of depression and suicides caused by cyber bullying are rising. When a person knows how to protect themselves from bullies, they will not face the dire consequences of digital bullying. However, what should others do who do not know about all the dangers of the Internet? Cyber bullying is a problem, quite a big one. That is why we should educate people how not to become the victims of tormentors. People should be taught how not to be mocked on the Internet or how to be immune to Internet dangers.
In 2008 people in the USA were shocked by the dangers of cyber bullying. Megan Meier, a 13-year-old girl killed herself after being the victim of cruel cyber bullying. The incident took place in Missouri and showed the real problem of digital abuse. Investigators found out that Megan was bullied by a group of people including Lori Drews and an 18-year-old officer. Lori Drews is the father of Megan’s friend and the young officer worked for Mr. Drews. They have created a profile of a young guy who started communicating with Megan and getting closer with her through communication. Megan talked to them at Myspace (a social networking site). When their ‘joke’ was revealed, Megan just could not take all the humiliation. She did not have enough mental strength to deal with the situation and committed suicide. At the then days, there were no laws regulating cyber bullying. For this reason, the group of bullies was not prosecuted. Nowadays, Missouri has imposed the list of laws against cyber bullying.
Another incident happened in Massachusetts. Phoebe Prince committed suicide after she was harassed at school and humiliated via messaging and websites. Phoebe was 15 years old when she decided to kill herself, all because the bullies convinced her in being a total loser.
According to a cyber bullying research survey in 2008, 43% out of 2,000 students questioned have been the victims of digital bullying:
18,1% were hurt after receiving upsetting emails
15,8% faced humiliation through instant messaging
14,1% got upset after someone posting something about them on Myspace
Another survey in September 2009 showed even more dire results. Among 1,247 young people aged 14-24, 50% were the victims of digital abusive behavior and 45% stated that they witness mean behavior on social networking sites.
Words hurt as well as physical pain. The faceless Internet made it possible for anybody to become a bully. You can never know who is there on the other side sending you threatening messages; whether it is a well-built man in his mid-years, or it is a tiny girl mad at the whole world. You will never know. This is what makes cyber bullying more harmful than traditional bullying. The Internet allows anybody to become the evil and do disgusting things without being identified. Cyber bullies feel the power of impunity and this is a destructive force to a person. As the research shows, cyber bullying causes more damage than traditional one. While being bullied at school, you can just ignore the bully and go home, when being bullied digitally you feel like you have nowhere to hide.
With the anonymity and hidden identities online it is still a challenge to trace the guilty party. Nevertheless, the states are doing their best to pass new legislations that will regulate cyber bullying and persecute the tormentors.
Some laws penalizing cyber bullying were introduced in New York, Missouri, Rhode Island, and Maryland. In 2007, a number of states passed legislations dealing with cyber bullying and regarding it as misdemeanor. In 2008, a bill making cyber bullying illegal was approved in Jefferson City of Missouri. In the same year in California, the lawmakers passed the law dealing directly with cyber bullying.
In Arkansas in 2007, the law was imposed that allowed school officials to take actions and deal with cyber bullies, no matter whether the bullying took place on the school property or not. School officials are allowed to punish cyber bullies who act against their fellow students in Iowa, New Jersey the Garden State and Idaho. Moreover, in Idaho a student can be suspended if being responsible for harassing and tormenting students using electronic devices (computers, phones etc.)
In Vermont but for the strict legislation dealing with cyber bullying, there is a fine of 500 dollars for people who are mean and offensive on the Internet.
As there is an aggravation of cyber bullying, most schools applied policies against digital abusive behavior. Many schools reduced the range of the Internet sites available at school in order to protect students from using the sites where they can face cyber bullying. However, it cannot be the only solution. That is why schools imposed anti-bullying rules. They monitor any problematic behavior at school. They try to track students’ mean behavior online if any. Last but not least, educators and school officials teach students about the dangers of cyber bullying. Teachers try to explain the importance of telling parents and counselor about any digital abuse and asking for help if needed. Finally, students are taught how to avoid cyber bullying: what to do and how to act.
If only it was that simple to find the guilty party, make them responsible for cyber bullying and solve the problem. In reality, it is truly difficult to indentify the personality of cyber bullies, as they have got tons of fake profiles on Facebook and Myspace. Still, there is no regulation that can help to make fake profiles disappear.
When looking for a person to blame for cyber bullying, we sometimes need to look at ourselves. In other words, sometimes we should blame the society. Today, violence is promoted through video games, computer games, television and movies. From the early age of life, children believe that violence is a norm. In future such kids can become cyber bullies, wanting power and control over others.
To make things even worse, teenagers do not often talk to their parents about the problems. That is why when they face cyber bullying, they keep it to themselves. Parents for their part sometimes are not interested in finding out what bothers their children. In addition to that, not all the schools pay enough attention to the problem of cyber bullying. I believe we should work together as a society, because if the society does nothing to solve the problem, then this society should be blamed for the dire consequences of cyber bullying.
The Internet and technologies make our lives easier, that is for sure. However, we have faced the flip side of our era, that is cyber bullying and difficulties to stop it. Society should be truly concerned with the harmful effects of digital abusive behavior. Schools should play a key role in educating children about netiquette and protecting young learners from cyber bullying. People should know all the truth about cyber bullying and the ways to protect themselves from it.
The situation with cyber bullying is getting only worse, as the incidents of depression and suicide are only increasing. That is our aim to deal with the monster created online that is impunity. The society cannot keep silent when people are being affected by cyber bullies. We need to find the way to stop this growing problem.
After the research, I realize that the problem cannot be stopped, as we cannot deal with anonymity on the Internet. However, something has to be done to at least make this problem smaller. While we cannot stop anonymous bullies, we can help the victims to be less susceptible to harassment and humiliation they face. Our society can help those who suffer from bullying and educate them how to protect themselves.
It is clear from the research that the situation is dire, but the actions against digital abuse behavior have already been taken. The society made the first step to protect people from bullying and together we can remedy the situation.
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