Laws Created to Prevent Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying or online bullying is an act where an individual or a group of persons use communication and information technologies to embarrass, threaten, harass or cause harm to others (Scherer, 5). Cyber bullying is more prone to the young people unlike among the adults. Young people are more prone to cyber bullying since they have access to mobile phones and even computers within their reach. Internet plays a role in the social life of young people since they will require it to chat with their friends, research for classroom assignments and many other roles. It should be assumed that only the adults bully children through the Internet or other electronic source, some kids do bully their fellow kids online or via mobile phones text messages.
Online bullying has been on the rise over the years as technology continues to advance. Research shows that cyber bullying has increased tremendously over last few years with young adults being the most affected of all other persons by cyber bullying (Scherer, 5). Online bullying is like any other form of bullying only that it takes place online or through text messages sent via mobile phones. Cyber bullies may be online acquaintances, classmates or some anonymous persons.
If the act occurs among the adults, it is termed as cyber-stalking or cyber-harassment. Cyber bullying is a crime under the laws of many countries in the world, and it has legal outcomes that may even involve long jail terms. Those persons who engage in cyber bullying assume the identity of other people and take that advantage to trick people. These bullies may decide to spread rumors and lies about their victims, which cause emotional pain to the affected persons (Roleff, 13).
School going children and young adults can also cyber bully one another. They tend to create website pages that they use to fun of their classmates. They can also threaten them. This shows that cyber bullying is only limited by the creative ability of the cyber bully. It may be hard to catch such a student since after building a website page; they may decide to remain anonymous.
When someone’s picture has been posted on social media without their consent, this is also cyber bullying. Persons may also be tricked through the social media and agree to release their personal information, this is also a form of cyber bullying. When mean text messages are sent to an individual, it is also cyber bullying. Online bullying can take many forms such as harsh message on social media and impersonation. If an individual has a text message in the mobile phone, a tweet or a Facebook update that can be termed as harsh, this qualifies as cyber bullying. The act of impersonating someone else is also a form of online bullying even though it is not much obvious. Impersonation will involve the use of somebody’s photos, videos and even personal information of that person in order to cause to cause embarrassment or harm to the person. Harm caused can either be physical or psychological (Roleff, 13).
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Fake accounts and online web page can be created with an intention of causing harm or embarrassing the other person. These fake accounts may be e-mail account or the social media accounts such as twitter handle. In some cases, cyber bullying occurs accidentally where a message that was aimed at creating a joke may be interpreted otherwise by the recipient and this become a form of cyber bullying. Cyber bullying can be prevented by parent ensuring that they talk to their kids about the issue. Internet software’s can be created with awareness messages against cyber bullying posted on the social media sites that are mostly frequented by the young people (Scherer, 5).
Both adults and the young people can be trained on how to handle situations of cyber bullying. Children can be taught on use of non-violent ways of settling arguments and differences among themselves and avoid fights. In most cases, the victims of cyber bullying are usually not aware of what to do after they have been bullied. Some of the people who have been bullied online react in a positive manner by blocking or cutting their communication with the cyber bully. Victims may also decide to delete the messages sent to them even before they read. Talking to friends about the situations of cyber bullying helps in sharing information on cyber bullying and also provides knowledge on the new tactics and trends that might be used with the bullies. Reports of cyber bully in the social media can be reported to website moderator such as the case in Facebook.
When persons are bullied, they may device a variety of techniques that will help them relieve their emotional feelings. Some persons may seek revenge on the cyber bully; avoid activities that may expose them to the cyber bully such as online. Some persons may decide to revenge by cyber bullying back. When teens and kids are cyber bullied, they do not comprehend what they are supposed to do. They tend to feel threatened since they do not know who is bullying them. It is essential to know that cyber bullies cannot remain anonymous; one needs to save all form of communications using internet, with the cyber bully and this will help in their tracking.
Cyber bullying has got negative adverse effect to children. A cyber bullied kid will tend to have low self-esteem and also lack a sense of security. Cyber bullying also affects the academic performance of children who are attending school as it is coupled with stress. Among the adults, cyber bullying affects ones career and profession negatively. Cyber bullied persons tend to remain marginalized and also suffer from stress. Cyber bullying leads to suicidal thoughts.
To remain safe against cyber bullies, it is good that individuals, who normally use Internet and other social media Websites, avoid sharing their personal information online. Personal information may include, full name, address, parents name or telephone number. Online passwords should not be shared apart with the most trusted persons in order to avoid cyber bullying. It is good to know that meeting a person face to face having known each other through the Internet is also dangerous and can lead to bullying. It is noteworthy that parents are aware what activity their kids engage in when they are online to avoid a scenario where they can be cyber bullied.
Cyber bullying can be eliminated by: designing and raising awareness about the prevention of cyber bullying. An awareness message can be designed that discourages cyber bullying. This awareness message may be posted on the social media and people asked to forward the message to their friends. Under the United States of America laws, there is a cyber-bullying prevention act. It states that any person who transmits any information that may coerce, intimidate, harass or cause emotional disturbance to other persons by use of electronic means shall be imprisoned or fined for not more than two years or both.
Parents are mandated to curb cyber bullying among their kids. Parents need to be always aware about what is happening to their kids technologically, socially and developmentally. When these kids advance in age, their scope of understanding gets wider, and they live more complex social lives. Parents need to advise their children on the usefulness of technology and also guide them towards the reaping the benefit of the Internet together with technology so as to curb cyber bullying. Parents and teachers should be able to detect the warning signs of cyber bullying. They should try and speak to the kids and advise them on cyber bullying.
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Cyber bullied children tend to be withdrawn where they tend to more or late than normal. Cyber bullied children also have low self- esteem; they tend to be aggressive and also they tend to continuously post poor grades in their academics. Cyber bullied children also tend to indulge in drugs and alcohol, they skip school more and have health related problems. These effects usually emanate from the emotional disturbance that they frequently experience (Scherer, 5).
Cyber bullying is a serious problem that is affecting many young adults because cyber bullying may never end, unlike other activities. This is because the internet is there always unlike school and home where the child stays for hours. Internet is everywhere the child goes because of the availability of Internet enabled gadgets such as mobile phones, tablets and computers. This implies that, a cyber-bullied child usually faces all these psychological and emotional challenges and they cannot escape them unless they are helped (Roleff, 13).
Laws against cyber bullying have been put whose aim is to ensure that cyber bullying is viewed as a crime (Scherer, 5). There are some countries that are yet to pass these laws against cyber bulling. Websites that are against cyber bullying have been created. Such sites provide guidance and advice for children and adults on how to respond to cyber bullying and also on how to prevent this act of online bullying. Such websites are working closely with the institutions, parents, children and the law enforcement bodies to prevent acts of cyber bullying.