Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cyber-bullies Should Pay

Image: Wikimedia Commons
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." This old saying may have been true in the past, but however, in this new age of technology, words are more powerful than ever. Cyber-bullying may seem like nothing since there's no physical contact, but in reality it can hurt even more than traditional bullying. Behind those monitors are real people with real feelings; some have been driven to depression, some have been driven to physical bullying, and some have been driven to suicide. According to BullyStatistics.org, “Cyber-bullying victims are more likely to have low self esteem and to consider suicide.” Cyber-bullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person. By definition, it occurs among young people. When an adult is involved, it may meet the definition of cyber-harassment or cyber-stalking, a crime that can have legal consequences and involve jail time as well. Cyber-bullying is a big problem in today's society, it needs to be criminalized.

First, cyber-bullying is a widespread problem. According to StopTechNOBullying.org, “53% of kids admit they have said hurtful things to others online”. Cyber-bullying starts at an early age. In addition, BullyStatistics.org, “over 50% of 4th graders have said something hurtful to someone else online, with almost 70% of 8th graders saying something hurtful to someone else online”. Cyber-bullying is a big problem in today's society, it needs to be criminalized.


Second, cyber-bullying is more serious than traditional bullying. For normal bullying, the bully will usually just go to the same school, or live near the victim, however, with cyber-bullying, the bully could be anywhere. The bully could be anywhere on the other side of the computer screen, anywhere in the world! Not only are the places unlimited, the time is unlimited. Traditional bullying will usually occur during school, or whenever the victims are outside the safety of their homes, but cyber-bullying can happen anytime. According to bullyingstatistics.org, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying. A teenage girl named Tallulah 15, lived in London, England, and he cut herself and posted her self-harm photos on the Internet. She was badly affected by bullied at school, St. Marlyebone Church of England, and on the internet. On a Sunday, Oct. 14 2013, Tallulah was found dead at St. Pancras station after jumping into train tracks and being hit by a train. This is one of the many scenarios in which cyber-bullying has lead to suicides, or suicide attempts. Cyber-bullying is more serious than normal bullying. So by criminalizing cyber-bullying, it could create a safer realm for the victimized and a resting place for bullies.


Lastly, criminalization would be a deterrent and reduce the number of victims. Deterring cyber-bullying should be the primary goal of any proposed solution, especially because the victims of cyberbullying are often children whom society aims to protect. Also, the 70,000,000 kids who have cyber-bullied would probably not cyber-bully again, and if they did, then the victims have a method to stop the bullying-criminalization. The youth that have cyber-bullied will not want to take that risk of getting arrested because it is criminalized, and those that continue to cyber-bully will indeed, be punished. Think of it this way, if you were caught stealing a video game, what would you do if your only punishment was a firm warning and "Don't do it again." You would probably steal again, right? Now, what if you were caught stealing, and this time, you were sent to jail? That would make a much bigger impact. The same is true for cyber-bullying as well. If it were highly recognized as a crime, then it could provide more safety for victims and larger consequences to the bullies who are still willing to take the risk of cyber-bullying in the future.


However, in other ways, criminalizing cyber-bullying could be very ineffective. The bullying will move to other spheres of communication or even continue illegally if cyber-bullying were to be criminalized, only showing the ineffectuality of the hypothetical statute. They advocate the idea of educational programs aimed at providing children with the knowledge they need regarding safe practices online. They conclude by saying that constitutionally, many issues arise concerning frees speech rights and that a broad look at the problem, ignoring the tools of communication involved, should be taken into perspective. In essence, Murphy and Macleod-Ball assert that the criminalization of cyber-bullying would be contradictory to the constitution and ineffective in deterring the bullying itself.


Cyber-bullying is a serious problem. Criminalization, or the legislation to make, in this case, cyber-bullying illegal, is needed to stop this major problem. Cyber-bullying should be criminalized because it is a widespread problem, is more serious than normal bullying, and criminalization could possibly make the bullies more hesitant to committing a cyber-bullying crime. The world is already facing problems, why ignore the chance of a solution?


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Reflection (6 March 2014)

This whole year was about learning about your digital footprint and how to obtain a good understanding on what it means to be a digital citizen. The idea of digital citizenship applies to how you would act in person. Some points in digital citizenship that pertain to non-bullying include: treating others how you want to be treated, expressing your opinion in a constructive and positive way, and accepting others. In my project, my topic was about cyber-bullying and if by criminalizing it, it will help prevent further, serious cases in the future. I learned a lot about different opinions about the idea of criminalizing it. There were a lot of thoughtful comments, and I really appreciate the thoughtfulness you all put into the comments. A lot of people helped support my argument, but some were able to pose good questions to help me further my thoughts about cyber-bullying. There were many arguments refuting mine saying that education, instead of criminalizing, would be a better solution. In my opinion, I think any way is rational as long as there is awareness of the actual bullying case itself. I think any of those consequences are adequate, but none of the cases (big or small cases) should be thought of as less than they are. Bullies must know the consequences and how serious this type of cyber-harassment is. Overall, this was a very eye-opening experience for me to gain knowledge about this very serious topic. Thank you to everyone who commented and took part in my discussion!

9 comments:

  1. This is probably the saddest thing. Bullying is the worst thing in the world. Why do people have to do that to them selves or each other? Nobody is perfect, we are all equally the same. So, there is no reason to hurt other people.

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    1. Hi Aidan, thank you for commenting. I agree with you, and I wish I knew why bullying happened. No one deserves to feel or be victimized. If only more people would be more aware of how serious this issue truly is. Do you know anyone that has been bullied in any form?

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  2. Hi Duncan09, your blog really made me think. You did a great job of expressing your opinion. You also had a lot of great evidence to support your thesis! I fully agree with you. Bullies should be punished for their actions. Why do you think bullies bully? What would you do if you were bullied? Thank you for sharing this amazing post!
    - Tennis123

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    1. Hi Tennis123~
      Thanks for the thoughtful comments! Bullies bully for a variety of reasons, whether it's to establish dominance, jealousy or envy and a lack of personal and social skills to deal with such feelings are also factors, and it could also be about their family back at home because the families that are not warm and loving and in which feelings are not shared are more likely to have children who bully. If I were bullied, I would make sure I notify a trusted adult or guardian and try my best to end it as quick as it started.
      Thanks again!

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  3. Hi Duncan09~
    I think that you made a really good point of criminalizing Cyber-bullying. How long do you think the sentence would be? If it was made to long, people would protest, but if it were too short, people might continue to do it. This post points out that there is a way to stop Cyber-bullying. ~Himitsu

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    1. Hi Himitsu~
      You pose a very thoughtful question about how long the duration of the sentence should be. I think that it would be in the court's best interest to think about the severity of the case (of the bully), and then to base it off of that. It all truly depends on what the case is, how extreme it is, and who it may involve. Thank you for commenting!

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  4. Hello, Duncan09!
    Your post was very strong and engaging, and you delivered a clear argument about why we should criminalize cyber-bullying. Any type of bullying is very disappointing and unfortunate; however, it is important to understand that cyber-bullying is the most serious as you pointed out in your post. Do you think there would be any objection to criminalizing cyber-bullying; and if so, from who? Some parents, especially of younger children, may not realize that cyber-bullying can start at such an early age, and how serious and hurtful it can be. However, it is crucial to seek a solution to this ongoing issue of cyber-bullying, and I agree that criminalizing it may help prevent it. Also, should we spread awareness of this issue amonst the general public and get their input on the hopeful solution of making cyber-bullying illegal? Thank you for this fascinating article. Well done! --VolleyDolly7

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    1. Hello, VolleyDolly7!
      What an interesting question that you have. I think there is an objection towards the criminalization because some feel as if it is almost too harsh. Many people believe that education would be the best way to discipline the bullies. In my opinion, I feel as if it is necessary to take this seriously, and as harsh if need be, to govern the bullies in a very serious way. Another good question! I think it should be something known throughout society, so that the bullies know what the possible consequences would be. Thanks so much for your time!
      ~Duncan09

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  5. Hello, Duncan09! You bring up a very interesting issue, and you write it well. While I agree that criminalizing cyber-bullying is a good idea in theory, I believe it may be harder than it sounds. It'll likely help to stop bullies on sites where they can be easily identified, but how about those bullying anonymously? IP addresses could be helpful to solve this issue, but those more serious about this malicious hobby might be using proxy servers. How should we go about tracking these bullies down?

    -Markie

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