CYBERBULLYING! what exactly it is?And why the youth are the prime suspects of it? Cyberbullying is BULLYING that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites. Examples of cyberbullying are mean text/messages, chat, videos, websites, embarrassing pictures or fake profiles.
Cell phones and computers themselves are not to blamed for cyberbullying. Social media sites can be used for positive activities, like connecting kids with friends and family, helping students with school, and for entertainment. But these tools can also be used to hurt other people. Whether done in person or through technology, the effects of bullying are similar and kids who are into cyberbullying are more likely into alcohol and drugs, smoking, bunking college/school, have lower self-esteem, lack of health problems etc. The causes of cyber bullies have their own motives on why they are involved in cyber bullying. Some of their intentions have been identified as anonymity, power, attention, retaliation, boredom, jealousy, and the pleasure of inflicting pain. Some of the incidents which occured due to cyberbullying are:
The Cyberbullying Story: Jessica Logan was an 18-year-old Sycamore High School senior who sent nude photo of herself to her boyfriend, but the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that the photo was sent to hundreds of teenagers in at least seven Cincinnati-area high schools after the couple broke up. According to the University of Alabama’s cyberbullying website, the cyber bullying continued through Facebook, MySpace and text messages. Jessica hanged herself after attending the funeral of another boy who had committed suicide.
A little more than one year later, 13-year-old Hope Sitwell hanged herself after a picture of her breasts that she “sexted” to her boyfriend was shared amongst students at six different schools in area of Ruskin, Florida, friends and family told CNN. Hope never told her parents about the “Hope Hater Page” that was started on MySpace that led to additional cyber bullying.
Aftermath: The Enquirer reported that Jessica’s parents, Albert and Cynthia Logan, filed a lawsuit against Sycamore High School and the Montgomery police for allegedly not doing enough to keep their daughter from being bullied and harassed following the nude photos of her being widely shared. In February 2012, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 116, also known as the Jessica Logan Act, into law. The legislation addresses cyber bullying and expands anti-harassment policies.
Reuters reported that Hope’s parents filed a lawsuit in April 2011 against Hillsborough County school officials for allegedly failing to take appropriate action after learning the teen had suicidal thoughts.
AND THE OTHER STORY ABOUT CYBERBULLYING IS,
Cyber Bullying Stories: The Ryan Halligan Case (1989 – 2003)
The Cyberbullying Story:the website operated by Ryan’s parents, John and Kelly Halligan, early concerns about Ryan’s speech, language and motor skills development led to him receiving special education services from pre-school through the fourth grade. Ryan’s academic and physical struggles made him the regular target of a particular bully at school between the fifth and seventh grade. In February 2003, a fight between Ryan and the bully not only ended the harassment at school, but led to a supposed friendship.
However, after Ryan shared an embarrassing personal story, the newly found friend returned to being a bully and used the information to start a rumour that Ryan was gay. The taunting continued into the summer of 2003, although Ryan thought that he had struck a friendship with a pretty, popular girl through AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). Instead, he later learned that the girl and her friends thought it would be funny to make Ryan think the girl liked him and use it to have him share more personally embarrassing material—which was copied and pasted into AIM exchanges with her friends. On October 7, 2003, Ryan hanged himself in the family bathroom. After his son’s death, John discovered a folder filled with IM exchanges throughout that summer that made him realize “that technology was being utilized as weapons far more effective and reaching [than] the simple ones we had as kids.”
Aftermath: There were no criminal charges filed following Ryan’s death because no criminal law applied to the circumstances. Seven months after Ryan’s death, Vermont’s Bully Prevention Law (ACT 117) was signed into law by Governor Jim Douglas. John Halligan also authored Vermont’s Suicide Prevention Law (ACT 114), which passed unchanged in April 2006.
The youth are the future leaders of the next generation; however, cyber bullying has slowly destroyed the morality of youth individuals who have been victims, bullies, or both. Indeed, cyber bullying is a serious problem faced by young people globally. More importantly, teenagers should be held accountable and responsible for their online actions. Also, they should gain knowledge and awareness on cyber bullying to properly handle the issue, even as a bystander. In doing so, they will become disciplined Internet users, who will think long, hard, and very carefully before they click.
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