Cyberbullying and cybersuicide were the the topics on the news documentary “CNN’s Headline Prime” on Tuesday March 27th, 2007 at 8:00-9:00 p. m. The show reported on information and examples of Internet bullying in general, along with cases of cyber-suicide. One of the stories reported on concerned a teen boy texting on the Internet that he wanted to kill himself. Others online egged him on, offered him a gun to use and touted, “Chicken—you won’t do it. ” The end result, the boy did kill himself.
This wasn’t the first time this has happened in cyberspace. The show even displayed the text of the messages. One boy wrote something to the effect: “Was this for real? ” after it became apparent the one youth followed through on his online threat of suicide. According to a survey from the National Crime Prevention Council, 33% of students between the ages of 8 and 18 know at least one person who has been a victim of cyber bullying (Shyrock, 2006). Bullying and suicide have always been around.
As technology and computers infiltrate our lives, I guess it should not be too surprising that daily events that once occurred in person are now pervading the Internet. “Cyberbullying is sending or posting harmful or cruel text or images using the Internet or other digital communication devices” (Cyberbullying, 2007). Cyberthreats were also discussed on “CNN’s Headline Prime” and are a related concern. A cyberthreat is online material that threatens or raises concerns about violence against others, suicide, or other self-harm.
The two kinds of cyberthreats that are direct threats are actual threats to hurt someone or commit suicide. Some of the things I feel individuals, groups and society should do to improve this problem with cyberbullying and cybersuicide is occurring. The problem of cyberbullying has begun to be addressed in different ways. Websites like the Center for the Safe and Responsible Internet Use site (CSRUI), Cyberbully. org. and cyber-safe-kids. com have been established to address the problem. CSRUI provides resources for educators and others to promote the safe and responsible use of the Internet.
The statement on their homepage says, “Mobilizing educators, parents, students, and others to combat online social cruelty” (Cyberbullying, 2007). The United States Government with the Secretary of Defense has introduced a non-profit organization i-Safe that aims at educating children, teens and adults about the “harm of unregulated Internet” (Cyberbullying, 2007). i-Safe works with schools, communities and law enforcement in creating programs to inform parents and children about the Internet, offering I-mentors and preparing individuals and communities on Internet bullying.
Nancy Willard has an online document site that addresses legislative and school policies concerning cyberbullying. On this site, “Cyberbullying Legislation and School Policies: Where are the Boundaries of the “Schoolhouse Gate” in the Virtual World,” Willard addresses such things as the history of cyberbullying, how cyberbullying affects students, and the policies and legislation concerning with cyberbullying. On Willard’s page she states that “legislation is pending in a number of states to address the concern of cyberbullying.
Many school districts are also adopting policies to address cyberbullying”(Willard, 2007). Insofar as to incorporate material we’ve learned in class, our text, and the various online sites to apply to this cyberbullying issue, not too surprisingly I read that “Many bullies come from families where there is poor parenting” (Cyberbullying, 2007). However, of course, like most social problems, this doesn’t explain all of it. As technology and communication have expanded, so have the problems that go with it like cyberbullying.
I believe I read in our textbook something similar, along with other readings that those who are victims of cyberbullying or bullying in general are not too likely to seek help from authorities. Some signs that someone is a victim of cyberbullying can include trouble sleeping, fear of going out of the house, acting out aggression at home, stories that don’t seem to make sense, unexplained loss of money or loss of personal items (Cyberbullying, 2007). From what I have read for this assignment, the social causes of bullying stem from aspects of a child’s surroundings including their family and friends and in some cases, lack thereof.
Often a child models him or herself after those in their immediate environment. If one’s family is disrespectful, argues and makes fun of each other, this type of behavior can become comfortable outside the home (Cyberbullying, 2007). Jack Kalousek, student activities director at Franklin High School in Livonia, Michigan believes that most cyber bullying stems from feelings of inferiority or jealousy on the part of the bully. “These people (the bullies) tend to have conflicts with other students and elevate their own worth by tearing down others.
I believe their goal is to make themselves feel better by making someone else feel worse (Shyrock, 2006). As far as the social consequences of bullies, “bullies tend to have more court convictions than their peers, are more prone to alcoholism, are far less social, and over time becomes more isolated from their peers” (Cyberbullying, 2007). I agree with the educational system for getting involved in addressing the problem of online bullying. I also applaud the various organizations and legislation that is focusing on this social ill.
However, in my research I read little about the role of parents in this online bullying which surprises me somewhat. I suppose it’s not too uncommon these days to hand over issues to organizations and legislatures, however, I wish parents felt they had a significant role in this problem because I feel that they could if they communicated more with their children and involved themselves in this social problem on an individual level. “Online is just a parallel of real life; the same rules have to be adapted and applied,” says Parry Aftab, executive director of WiredSafety.
“If you do something wrong, there are going to be ramifications. Kids need to learn they have to be accountable” (Cyberbullying, 2005). Bibliography CyberBullying. Retrieved March 27, 2007, from Sociology 102: Group Project Web site: http://mblog. lib. umich. edu/cyberbulling/archives/2007/03/the_gender_fact. html (2005, March 29). Cyberbullying Pervades the Public School Experience. Retrieved March 29, 2007, from Issues & Controversies. Facts on File News Services. Internet Bullying. Headline Prime. CNN. March 27, 2007. Paulson, Amanda (2003, Dec 30). Internet Bullying.
Retrieved March 29, 2007, Web site: http://www. csmonitor. com/2003/1230/plls01-legn. html Shryock, Kathleen Wilson. (2006, April 01). “Bullies in Cyberspace. ” Leadership for Student Activities. eLibrary. Proquest. 29 Mar 2007. <http://elibrary. bigchalk. com>. Willard, Nancy (2007, March). Cyberbullying Legislation and School Policies: Where are the Boundaries of the “Schoolhouse Gate” in the Virtual World. Retrieved March 30, 2007, from Center for the Responsible Use of the Internet Web site: http://www. cyberbully. org/docs/cblegislation. pdf
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