Cyber Bullying: A Threat to Everyone
The ordinary school playground is no longer the only place bullies are found.
My sister was very angry when my niece came home from school crying. She was being bullied by her classmate and a close-friend, too by sending rumours about her in the net.
Some children at a young age of 13 onwards committed suicide because of cyber bullying. Even some TV and movie personalities in other countries have taken their lives because of it.
Cyberbullying is being cruel to others by sending or posting harmful material or engaging in other forms of social cruelty using the Internet or other digital technologies. It has various forms, including direct harassment and indirect activities that are intended to damage the reputation or interfere with the relationships of the student targeted, such as posting harmful material, impersonating the person, disseminating personal information or images, or activities that result in exclusion.
The act of bullying using the Internet usually happened after school, but the efffects can be felt after the incident happened on the web.
A 2007 study by the US-based Pew Internet and American Life Project found that one-third of American teen internet users have been targets of cyber bullies.It can happen in chatrooms, instant messaging and social networking.
Playground bullying stopped when the bell rang and you went back inside the school or went home. With cyber bullying it is 24/7 and 365 days a year.
For me, as an adult, I can just turn off my computer or fight back by answering equally harsh words, but that's not really the option of today's teens. They usually depend on the internet to keep in touch with peers.
That's very true. Even my sister warned my niece not to open their desktop computer, she still chat with her friends at the friendster's site even she was bullied once by one of her friends.
Even teachers are not spared from these cyber bullies. Libelous remarks about their teachers are being hurled at the site uk.ratemyteachers.com forcing the UK Association of Teachers and Lecturers to go to court in support of teachers who've been libeled online.
Nancy E. Willard, M.S., J.D.,with degrees in special education and law has formulated the "Cyber Bullying Legislation and School Policies." She taught “at risk”children, practiced computer law, and was an educational technology consultant before focusing her professional attention on issues of youth risk online and effective Internet use management in schools.
Governments have taken legislative action. The US Congress passed a law in 2006 making it a federal crime to "annoy, abuse, threaten or harass" another person over the internet. In South Korea, the "internet real-name system," introduced in 2007, forces online portals and news website to record the identities of people who post content and to disclose their contact details if someone wants to sue them for libel or infringement of privacy.
Cyberbullying: A Whole New World of Brutality
More and more threats are prevalent in the cyberworld targetting innocent children. You can see the harsh words "kick a ginger!" on Facebook accounts and other social media sites attacking mostly the kids.
More states in the United states of America are cracking down abusers with the cyberbullying laws. Here are some of the states who are active in punishing or tracking offenders.
- In 2007, the Arkansas legislation passed a law allowing school officials to take action against cyber bullies even if the bullying did not originate or take place on school property. The law gave school administrators much more freedom to punish those individuals who sought to harass their fellow students.
- 2006 saw Idaho lawmakers pass a law that allowed school officials to suspend students if they bullied or harassed other students using a telephone or computer.
- Iowa has passed several laws that force schools to create anti-cyberbullying policies which cover bullying "in schools, on school property or at any school function or school-sponsored activity."
- New Jersey has always maintained tough laws about bullying, but it wasn't until 2007 that the laws were amended to include bullying via "electronic communication." These laws give additional power to the school system to enforce bullying-related punishment for actions that may not take place while on school grounds.
- The laws passed in recent years in Oregon expand the boundaries of what constitutes cyberbullying to include those actions which "substantially interfere" with the education of the young person.
- The suicide of a 13-year old girl Megan Meier who was the victim of an internet hoax greatly raised the awareness of cyberbullying and its consequences in the state of Missouri. Missouri has also toughened their laws on the matter, upgrading cyber-harassment from a misdemeanor to a Class D felony.
- New York created a system to investigate claims of cyberbullying that would help police and school officials better ascertain the circumstances of each occurrence and prosecute or punish the culprits to the fullest extent of the law.
- The governor of Rhode Island is currently trying to pass a bill that would force repeat cyberbullying offenders to appear in family court, where they would be charged as delinquents under the terms of the state's laws for young offenders.
- Vermont has added a $500 fine for cyberbullying offenses to their already stringent laws on the matter. There is currently a bill being discussed that would increase the reach of the school's powers regarding cyberbullying when the action puts the individual's ability to learn (or health and safety) at risk.
Currently, Massachusetts is considering House Bill 483 which would require schools to have anti-bullying training and procedures in place. It would require districts to produce an annual report citing cyberbullying incidents for the state legislature and the department of primary and secondary education. (Cyberbully Alert 2010)
Cyberbullying in the Philippines
This hubber is a Filipino, Travel Man that is. So, my concern is on what's happening to the youth, especially high school students who are now using or sporting cellular phones or cellphones when they go to school.
Right now, school policies are restricting the use of cellphones inside the classrooms. These set of rules are added to the regular policies, like the No ID, No Entry policy. The scenario being relayed by teacher is that cellular phones are often used to bully other classmates, by text messages and swapping of photos that have unruly or unbecoming remarks.
Although, cellular phones are prohibited in the classrooms, it is often used during breaktime, in the comfort rooms, playgrounds or even in the school's locker room where bullying among teenagers are rampant. Parents would like to check their kids if they are studying properly in school , so they provided cellphones to their sons or daughters.
Cyberbullying can even lead to suicide by the aggrieved parties or the kids being bullied, just like what happened in some cases.
So be vigilant, this is everybody's concern. The proper usage of modern gadgets like computers, cellphones and the internet should be regulated, whether or not you're in the school campus, in the malls or at home chatting on the net.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2009 Ireno Alcala