Many teens across the world are facing issues with cyber bullying. Not only are the teens being affected but their families too. People wonder what to do with this situation. With technology increasing, it’s making kids easier to bully one another online and through many different forms of technology. As cyber bullying has become the number one type of bullying, many lives are being affected. Cyber bullying is the use of the internet, cell phones, or other electronic communication devices to spread harmful or embarrassing information about another person (cyberbullying 1). It can also take many forms including, repeatedly sending emails to people who have said they don’t want contact with the sender. It includes sending threats, making sexual remarks, using offensive language or labels, or posting humiliating photos or videos, as well as spreading rumors or lies about the victim (cyberbullying 1). Numerous reports of cyber bullying have states questioning whether they should take action or not. In today’s society it is extremely easy to abuse the use of technology. Many teens and young adults express anger and other emotions toward one another through some type of media. As the number of cases rise, schools and states are passing more and more laws to protect the children and citizens of their community. Some people are arguing that we don’t need cyber bullying laws, that we already have laws against bullying and that should be enough. “Laws may be imperfect and enforcement may be difficult and spotty, but that’s better than nothing. I’d rather have anti-bullying laws that protect kids 90% of the time and have difficulties 10% of the time, than have no laws to stop cyber bullying and leave kids vulnerable 100% of the time” (Leichtling, 2013, pg. 2). One reason that people don’t think its necessary to create a law–for cyber bullying–is because speech is constitutionally protected (Murphy 1). We, as citizens of the United States of America, have the right to freedom of speech.
But with the right to freedom of speech comes a price. A price we all have to live with, and that’s the price of someone’s life. No matter what, there will always be that one person who has to be better than someone else. There comes a point in life where we have to realize that sometimes the laws need to be broken. In this case, it’s for the better. No one’s life is worth the protection of speech. If we keep on letting cyber bullying go because of the person’s “rights” then we need a major wake up call. No matter what we do we won’t be able to stop it, but if we stand up and take action then we can lessen the amount of cyber bullying that happens. Only 18 states have a cyber-bullying law that protects kids from electronic abuse, while 47 states have laws against physical bullying (State Cyberbullying Laws). As schools realize the effect of cyber bullying, they have stepped up and are ready to fight. Schools are passing laws in and out of school. The schools are stepping in and monitoring the students’ social accounts. If a student bullies someone during school break (like spring break, summer break, etc.) the school can intervene and suspend or even expel the student. In a survey taken in 2005 16.2% have been reported that they’ve been a victim outside of school (Uhls 2). Another way to protect students from bullying is Title IX. Many people don’t think too much about Title IX because they think it’s just to equalize the students.
Title IX is to help prevent gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual violence (Murphy 2). “Schools rarely acknowledge sexual harassment when they see it, and even when they do, they avoid getting involved when some of the conduct occurs off-campus. They tell parents they only have jurisdiction over harassment that occurs “on campus” or in connection with a school-sponsored activity.” (Murphy 2). Not anymore though, many schools are stepping up and taking action even when school isn’t in session. Schools need to take Title IX more seriously and use it to help the families that are facing issues with cyber bullying. Title IX can do many things to help prevent students from being bullied or sexual harassed by other students. Most families don’t know about it, so they don’t think to bring it up in court. If schools and courts advertised Title IX more often than the number of suicides–due to cyber bullying–would drop dramatically. People need to know that there is a way to get help and that they are not alone. In a recent study of 2,000 random middle-schoolers, 20% of them were seriously thinking about attempting suicide, while 19% reported attempting suicide. That means 39% of the 2,000 kids wanted to end their life (Hinduja 1, 2). The most commonly-reported form of cyber bullying was: “posted something online about another person to make others laugh” while the most frequent form of victimization was: “received an upsetting email form someone you know” (Hinduja 2). Cyber bullying takes a toll on everyone’s life. For some teens it can make them depressed and hate themselves. For others it can cause them to turn to drugs or alcohol. Teens are easily influenced by media and what their peers say.
So when cyber bullying occurs, it’s easy for the teen to believe it and think negative things. We need to stand up and take action. Have more campaigns about positive things and not so many negative things. Teens need to feel safe at school, but sadly that’s one of the last places teens feel safe. Teens that are cyber bullied usually have no where to turn to. The small but significant variation found in suicidal thoughts and actions based on bullying and cyber bullying suggests that all forms of adolescent peer aggression must be taken seriously–both at school and at home (Hinduja 2) There are many different ways we can help protect students from being bullied. Schools have hotlines that students can call anonymously if they want to report bullying. A major reason why kids don’t report cyber bullying is because they are scared of getting bullied themselves.
Schools need to pass stricter laws and parents need to start monitoring their children’s social activity, even if they are the ones being bullied. In cases of cyber bullying you can never be to protective. So many kids have died because they have felt useless and worthless due to cyber bullying. How would you like it if you were being told daily that you meant nothing to world, and that it would be better off with out you. Eventually it would get to your head and effect you. Even some of the strongest people are bullied and it kills them–in and out. Girls however though, are more likely to be bullied than boys, just like girls are more likely to bully than guys are (Cyberbullying 1). If given the chance, people will be mean, nasty and vicious to others, especially if they can act anonymously or the target can’t fight back effectively (Leichtling 2). No matter there will always be mean people in this world. Nothing will change that, it’s just part of life. But it doesn’t justify for all the lives that it has cost. Things need to change. Schools and states need to pass stricter and more serious laws that help protect kids and young adults from cyber bullying. As technology increases, bullying becomes easier and kids are getting away with it. It’s time to take a stand and fight for the kids who couldn’t fight back.
Courtney from Study Moose
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