How is cyberbullying affecting students of All ages? Bullying has been a problem in schools since most of us can remember. As modern technology advances cyberbullying advances with it and takes on a new appearance. Kids these days have so many outlets of which they can use to bully one another. While Cyberbullying has been all over the news recently, technologies continue to advance, and this bullying seems to become more prevalent.
Bullying has been happening for as long as anyone can remember, and everyone has experienced it at least once or has been a witness to it. Until social media was created, a kid dealing with bullying at school could go home and escape it and sadly that is no longer the case. Now that we have new technologies it makes it easier for bullying to go further than the classroom and into the kids life at home. More than half of kids in middle school nowadays have cell phones (“cell phone,” 2010), twitter,snapchat, facebook messenger, instagram at their use. Almost a decade ago, a huge majority of kids have never even heard of these things and with that being said, the new technologies that have been created are not all responsible for bullying following the kids home.
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Parents starting in 2010, were putting cell phones into their kids hands at younger ages than ever. In 2010, it was reported that twenty two percent of kids, ages 6-10, had cell phones (“cell phones,”2010). Being a parent you always worry about your child and always want to be in contact with them, which result in little kids with cell phones; which have their pros and cons. The typical classroom bullying is starting to become more intense at the younger ages, and the cell phones give the kids another way to bully each other. One common misconception about cyber bullying is that it stops after middle school, and high school. However, the stories that the media tells are different than what actually is occuring. Cyber bullying continues to highschool and in some cases into college. While the bullying may not be that intense as it was before, it seems that college kids deal with cyberbullying as well.
A few years ago, it seemed as if you pretended not to see cyberbullying. The thought of this reasoning was kids will be kids, and that they would get over it eventually.
It was really thought of as a problem; it was just one of those things people experienced at some point in their life, and then moved on like nothing happened. It wasn’t until Suicides started to occur more often and were the direct result of cyberbullying, and was then recognized as a problem (Hinduja and Patchin, 2010). Now it seems as if someone turns the television on to the news it is almost unavoidable to see something related to cyberbullying.
In most cases cyberbullying is more dangerous than the typical classroom bullying. The victim can not just go home to get away from the hurtful things because cyberbullying can happen without face to face contact anywhere, which makes it more hurtful than anything. The fact that cyberbullying can occur through technology it makes it easier to be more unsympathetic towards one another than in person (“Traditional vs. Cyberbullying”). People seem to be more comfortable sending a harsh text message to someone than saying it in person. It allows them to be cruel, without having to face the consequences of their words in a conversation in person.
There have been countless of tragic stories that have happened from cyberbullying in the news but two have really stood out as noteworthy and jaw droppingly hurtful. The first story that is the story of Tyler, a Freshman at Rutgers University who took his life after a few of his peers filmed him having a sexual encounter with another male and then posted it online. After Tyler had learned of the images and video, he committed suicide by jumping of a bridge (Friedman, 2010). Regrettably, homosexuals seem to be the ones that get the worst of bullying. This story only shows how serious a joke can be taken literally and can result in serious repercussions.
The other story is particularly notable which took place in 2007, the story about Megan Meier. This was the very first story that brought attention to cyberbullying, and how hateful cyberbullying can be, she was only thirteen years old who suffered from a attention deficit disorder and depression(“Cyberbullying,”2010). She began talking to a boy named Josh on her Myspace account. The two of them talked for about two months, when Josh just suddenly ended their friendship. She then committed suicide the next day after Josh told her he no longer wanted to be friends with her because he had heard she was mean and a bad friend. It was later found out that “Josh” was a fake identity that had been created by an old friend and her mother (“cyberbullying,”2010). This story is all over the media and it was the first time people heard about a mom being involved in bullying. This story is one of many examples of how unconventional cyber bullying really is, and it is not always messages, posts, or texts that directly hurt the victim.
So what is being done about this issue? No one really knows who is in charge of handling situations like this, is it the school, the police, or the parents (Hoffman, 2010). If there isn’t a law to forbid cyberbullying, there isn’t really much the police can do about it. The congress is now currently considering a bill to prevent cyberbullying which would make “the use of electronic communications intended for bullying, such as harassing or intimidating a person a federal crime”(Hoffman, 2010).
Only forty four states out of fifty have bullying statutes, and fewer states have any type of rules to prevent cyberbullying(cyberbullying, 2010). Constitutionally speaking, schools had previously not had the jurisdiction to punish students for bullying outside of school hours and off school property. Although, courts have now decided to go with the principles decisions to punish their “ students for bullying online” (cyberbullying, 2010). Bernard, an education law scholar at Pepperdine University agrees with the principles because he agrees that they have the right, and responsibility to protect their students from bullies. “Educators are empowered to maintain safe schools. Since the educators lack the courage of emerging technologies it works better to the advantage of bullies” (Cyberbullying, 2010).
Since there is no doubt that the world is currently increasing its technology that means cyberbullying is going to become more eminent. Tiny steps have been taken in the direction of settling the issue, but there is still much more to be done to keep up with this widespread pandemic.
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