In today’s society which is so technologically advanced, cyberbullying, which consists of posting offensive posts on social networks, sending harassing emails or text messages, or revealing personal information about a victim without their permission, is now the latest category of bullying. Moreover, cyberbullying often occurs under the cover of anonymity, since cyberbullies usually have aliases which make it easy to hide one’s true identity. In recent years, cyberbullying has led to tragic and heartrending outcomes such as the victims committing suicide or suffering from severe depression. In schools particularly, cyberbullying is on the rise.
Cyberbullying is the most important concern especially among minors. Cyberbullying is not something we can totally overlook. There is a point when we need to step in to intervene and act. The “if I ignore them, they’ll stop” approach works a few times. Kids think that the reaction is attention to them, and they get a thrill out of it. The difference between liking attention, and being addicted and/or abusing attention, is that if you have an attention dependency, it doesn’t matter whether or not it’s positive or negative. It’s attention, and you crave the addiction. Punishment has to be suitable to the crime. Cyberbullying is dreadful and damages someone just as much as real-world bullying, there are too many difficulties. There should be a set of guidelines to follow based off of what has been said or done to the victim. Also, what has since happened to the victim such as suicide, attempted suicide, etc.
Many teens face offensive remarks and nasty messages throughout their social media. Some individuals take it to an extreme level and instigate to torment others. This type of attacking behaviour needs to have real-life repercussions. Not as many people would overlook cyberbullying if they saw it as a real-life offence. We need to educate people that there are ramifications to their actions even if it’s not head-on harassment. More schools should clearly express to cyberbullies that there are consequences to their actions even if what they’re doing isn’t in person. However, not only is it significant for schools to establish rules against cyberbullying, but it is also vital to have laws that shield people that are being the victim of cyberbullying. Some countries do have laws against cyberbullying but not all are taking tough actions. It should not be so effortless for people to trouble each other and get away with it.
Stringent actions like deleting the cyberbully’s social media account should be considered. Deleting a cyberbully’s social media should decrease the amount of cyberbullying that teens face because it won’t give those types of people a chance to harass others. Social media sites should structure special separate websites where you can report cyberbullies and these social media site should really investigate the accounts that were reported. Presently on social media, people can report other users, but it’s not considered very severely and the makers of the social media site don’t scrutinize everyone that’s been reported. The purpose of social media was to assist people in communication and keep informed on people’s lives through the internet, and not to be manipulated as a platform for harassment and bullying.
Having harsh punishments for cyberbullying has the potential to change the online culture among minors. Increased legal punishments mean parents may become more occupied in their child’s online existence or take a more supportive role in debating cyberbullying at home. This is not only to cut short their children from turning into bullies but also so parents can be more attentive when their children are being cyberbullied. Severe legal punishments for cyberbullying will increase awareness about the concern and, more parents can prevent the situation from getting worse.
Laws against cyberbullying
With the privacy and concealed identities online, it is still a challenge to trace the guilty party. Some laws reprimanding cyberbullying were announced in the USA in a few states like New York, Missouri, Rhode Island, and Maryland. In 2007, a number of states passed legislation dealing with cyberbullying and regarding it as a crime. In 2008, a bill making cyberbullying illegal was approved in Jefferson City of Missouri. School officials are permitted to penalize cyberbullies who act against their fellow students in Iowa, New Jersey and Idaho. Furthermore, in Idaho, a student can be suspended if being responsible for harassing and tormenting students using electronic devices like computers, phones etc. In Vermont for the strict legislation dealing with cyberbullying, there is a fine of 500 US Dollars for individuals who are nasty and aggressive on the Internet.
As a result, most states have implemented cyberbullying laws, like California which makes it a crime to pose as someone through a website or any other electronic devices with the purpose to damage, coerce, or intimidate. In January 2018, two Florida middle school goers were charged with cyberstalking after they bullied another 12 years old to the point of suicide. In April 2018, Nebraska signed a bill that expands on the old law which only applied to bullying via phone calls. The new bill makes bullying via electronic message punishable by a $500 fine and three months in jail. Michigan is working on a bill that would make cyberbullying a crime with a punishment similar to that of Nebraska. Thirty-eight states currently have similar legislation that aims at punishing cyberbullies. The Maryland Senate has passed a proposal strengthening a cyberbullying law from 2013. The new provisions change the punishment for cyberbullying to up to three years of jail time and a $10,000 fine.
It is often asserted that cyberbullying is not as harmful as physical bullying, but the fact that victims of cyberbullying can be harassed relentlessly at any time means that cyberbullying can be even more emotionally harmful. Many believe that laws against cyberbullying will infringe on Americans’ free speech. By making cyberbullying a punishable crime, bullies will be discouraged from sending harassing messages and victims of cyberbullying will feel safer knowing that they can be protected by the law. Furthermore, taking cyberbullying more seriously and punishing cyberbullies can reduce the number of suicides due to bullying and save the lives of youths nationwide. Without punishment for their actions, cyberbullies will only continue to harass their victims, and the number of cyberbullies will also continue to increase as technological advancements are made. Anyone with a cellphone or access to the internet is susceptible to cyberbullying. In order to keep people safe from harassment online, cyberbullying must be treated as a punishable crime.