Prosecuting Cyber Bullying
Technology is frequently being used to display personal Information on social networking sites for everyone In the world to see.With this Instantaneous technology, the school bully has access to an easier, more harmful, and anonymous way to intimidate their victim.Cyber bullying has become a form of harassment that is creating a myriad of problems for teenagers and, therefore, needs to be dealt with properly.
The sense of anonymity and the ability to disguise ones identity online increases Weber bullying activity by “making fun of, telling lies, spreading rumors, threats and sharing private Information or pictures [online]” (Lulls lines 31-32).
In spite of the recent technological advancements, problems with bullying has existed for generations. At the click of a button, the threatening information that can be posted online can be seen throughout the world for anyone to see.
Because more people have access to someone’s private or embarrassing information, “an increased audience can often lead to more harmful bullying Incidents” (Macaque 27). Cyber lulling can be committed any where and at any time, therefore “the cyber bullies may not fully understand the Impact of their behavior on their victims” (Lulls line 9). Cyber bullying can negatively affect an individual and even lead to depression and thoughts of suicide. There are many well known stories of teenagers compelled to desperate, even suicidal acts after having been exposed to recurrent harassment by others online.
For Instance, the devastating and well-known case off 13-year-old girl named Megan Meier, committed seclude allegedly due to cyber bullying (Macaque 141 After coming friends with a boy she met online, Megan, who had a lifelong struggle with weight and self-esteem, finally met a boy she thought she could trust. After weeks of friendly conversations online Megan was eager to strengthen their relationship by finally meeting each other in person. Flirtatious messages from her online boyfriend “Josh” suddenly turned into disturbing and confusing remarks such as “the world would be a better place without you” (Macaque 16). Josh” even began to post spiteful comments on his site about Megan. Megan committed seclude to escape the main and humiliation she was put through (“Social Networking Web Sites” 3). Investigators soon discovered that the profile of “Josh Evans” was created by a 48- year-old woman named Lori Drew. Loris’s intentions were to tease and embarrass Megan, her next door neighbor and a former friend of Loris’s 13-year-old daughter (Macaque 28). This case brought national attention to the dire consequences of cyber bullying. The community was outraged and demanded charges to be brought against this mother.
Lori went to court but was never convicted because there was no law against cyber bullying. Another instance of the horrific effects of cyber bullying is portrayed in the tragic story of 18-year-old Tyler Clementine. Tyler started his freshman year with a big future ahead of him and a great outlook on life. Invading Teller’s privacy, his college roommate streamed private footage online from a WebMD that he held In their dorm (“Key Events in the History of Prosecuting Cybernetics” 8). Comments about his sexuality flooded through his inbox that night.
Days after the video went viral, Tyler could not handle the embarrassment and committed suicide by “Jumping off of the George Washington Bridge” (“Prosecuting Cybernetics” par. 1). These are two highly publicized and tragic cases resulting from abuse online. There are thousands of other people that are being threatened and bullied through technology every day and no one knows about it. There is nothing positive that results from bullying, but some people still believe that cyber bullies should not be prosecuted because it is not a crime.
Critics say that cyber bullying is not an issue that should have legal attention, “but a dilemma best solved by schools and parents” (“Prosecuting Cybernetics” par. 2). Many school districts throughout the country are attempting to educate their students about online safety and protection. In order to solve the problem of cyber bullying, the critics believe that schools should concentrate on “spreading messages of tolerance and civility to all young people” (“Prosecuting Cybernetics” par. 2). Another point that critics stress is that prosecuting cyber bullies violates “the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech” (Hayward 21).
Opponents to the prosecution of cyber bullies need to take into account the innocent people that are being terrorized online ND their rights to protect themselves. Supporters of the prosecution of these online abusers agree that cyber bullying leads to many emotional problems for the victims. Cyber bullies purposely “target their victims, revealing personal information on the Internet or harassing them through frequent or threatening messages” (“Prosecuting Cybernetics” par. 16). More often than not, school administrators and parents fail to identify and stop cyber bullying before it is too late.
Prosecutors need to take action in order to protect students online. Students are apprehensive to tell an adult about abuse online because they fear the bullying will only get worse. Victims feel that they are on their own in the endless abuse and “allegedly saw no choice for escape except to kill themselves” (Lulls 22). Historically, a person repeatedly bullied is not only a danger to themselves, but may even have the urge to harm others. For example, in the article “Prosecuting Cybernetics”, research has determined that “perpetrators of school violence?such as the two students who went on a shooting rampage at Columbine
High School in Colorado in 1999?often have a history of both bullying and being bullied themselves” (par. 31). Even though the cyber bully is not physically shoving the victim around, they are still able to instill a sense of fear and hopelessness in their victims. In order to punish cyber bullies for their conduct, new, up-to-date laws need to be passed for the protection of the innocent victim. With technology being the most popular form of communication, it is important to establish a law to “deter future bullying with a legal means to punish those who cause harm”.