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Cyberbullying represents 52% of the 85% of kids that are bullied in school. This is an enormous amount of children being hurt and degraded. Everyday there are students being targeted online. I was surprised to find that Washington, the state I live in, had the fifth highest level of bullying. Most people don’t pay attention to cyberbullying until it reaches extremes and stories on the news are shown about people committing suicide. This is a topic that we need to pay attention to and as a country need to change. We as a country may feel bad about the dead child on the news, however I don’t think people realize that they can make a difference.
One way we can make a difference is punishing the bullies who are responsible for these terrible actions. As a teen, creating awareness about the punishment of cyberbullying would scare most of the students in my school. This would show kids that they should not post hateful words but if they do, there will be consequences. In the Amanda Todd case, eight girls were arrested for criminal harassment in October of 2012. Todd was harassed for cheating with others' boyfriends and flashing her body to boys over the computer screen. Amanda started being bullied in 7th grade and was 15 when she decided enough was enough. She was harassed for three years and during this time the bullies were never punished. I believe it was the correct move to put these bullies in jail after the depression and anxiety they created for Amanda. Bullies who are caught cyber bullying should be arrested or put in a rehabilitation facility. A rehabilitation facility would rehabilitate a bullies state of mind.
Bullies should be punished for their actions because it is cyber harassment. Cyber Harassment and Cyberstalking laws were mainly created to protect citizens, however many citizens are not being protected against cyberbullying. Many states have enacted cyber bullying laws, but I believe all states should enable these. I believe we should make it so bullies have no escape route.
An alternative to punishing the perpetrators of harassment is the idea that the actions of bullies should be blamed on someone else. The top two sources of blame for cyberbullying are Facebook and parents. Facebook is the site to blame because they allow this type of content to occur without consequences. Pranks on facebook have also occurred under their “Recently Dead” page. Bullies have posted the victims name under recently dead and have posted rude comments. I understand freedom of speech is a right, but this type of speech is slander and hate speech. Facebook is an easy place for children to easily target each other with no punishments they may have at school. This site allows bullying that happens at school to be dragged into a student’s home life.
Some kids feel safe when they come home after being bullied at school, however most do not due to social media. One example is the Rebecca Sedwick case. Rebecca Sedwick was the thirteen year old girl from Florida that jumped to her death after being cyberbullied. She was told to “drink bleach and die” online. This cyberbullying had been going on for many years. Rebecca and her family tried to stop the bullying and it only got worse online. The school said that this matter was out of their hands because it does not happen in school, it occurs over the internet. After Sedwick committed suicide bullies were arrested on charges of harassment, but soon after released. These kids should have been left in jail and held accountable for their actions. Facebook is the most commonly used social media forum, and bad things can happen there. What is the role of parents in these instances? Are they to blame?
Many people believe parents should be held responsible for what their children do and say. They also need to be held accountable for punishing their kids for unacceptable actions. When a child cyberbullies another it is strictly the parents fault. I believe it is not the parents’ fault for a child’s actions, but the bully themselves. This shows that bullies should be held accountable for their actions, no matter what. Regardless of a bully’s age, they should be held accountable for their actions. As a country we can take a stand to stop cyberbullying and bullying in general. People may make mistakes, but these bullies were warned more than once to stop and they did not listen. Recently, an app for kindness has been created that could transform you into a better and more genuine you. You can also join many efforts already created to stop bullying. Another alternative is to stop the bullying when you see it and don't just stand by. Change can start with you. As I ninth grader this was a touchy subject to talk about, but it should be addressed because it plays an important role in our lives, even though we may not realize it. I leave you with the question of: Should bullies be punished for cyberbullying online, and is jail the answer?
Reflection (March 6, 2014)
Cyber bullies should be held accountable for their actions. Cyber bullies relates to digital citizenship because they are display examples of poor online behavior. The concept of digital citizenship is the same concept as you would show face to face. Three of the major ideas in digital citizenship that relate to non- bullying is showing kindness, accepting other opinions and expressing your opinions as long as they are not hurting anyone. I appreciated everyone who has commented on my blog so far and anyone that may comment in the future. I love to hear others opinions and think deeply about how their opinions could cause a positive or negative affect on this topic of bullying. Many posts restated my thesis and helped support my main ideas. Many of the people who commented believe that bullies should be punished if they caused a suicide, which was one of my large points. I was very thankful that the people who posted were very thoughtful and displayed great digital citizenship. The comments also made me dig back into my research and look deeper at the details. I did some further research and found that cyber bullying is also classified as cyber harassment. Researching and writing about this topic was very emotional. I read and watched videos about many bully suicide cases. I struggled and cried watching the Amanda Todd video. There were also a number of videos about how Amanda Todd caused bullying to happen to her. Overall, many response videos were sick and heartless. This really compelled me to make a strong argument about how cyber bullies should be punished. I want to thank everyone who contributed to the comments on my blog!