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The Social Problem and Consequences of Cyberbullying

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In the early age kids didn’t have the accessibility to the technology what we nowadays have. As technology has progressed, usage of it has increased in the wrong path. With the invention of the internet, online activities have become more rampant and widespread. In today’s technology, the Internet is now an essential part of an individual’s life. We depend so much on the internet in our daily life, that because of it we lose focus and forget what life is really about. Working, shopping or even communicating can get a helping hand from the Internet, however the Internet also has a destructive side to it. One of the harmful things that the Internet allows is the possibility of being cyberbullied or cyberbullying someone else. Cyberbullying is the usage of internet and technology to deliberately harm another in an intimidating way. Cyberbullying has been a problem among people, especially with teenagers for quite a while. Because of the development of technology, cyberbullying has become one of the most difficult problems to resolve in our society. According to Gregg MacDonald of The Washington Post, “It is so easy to say negative things through texting and online because you are not face-to-face with the person you are talking about. Bullies can say things and can feel all big and bad because they are at home behind a computer, or on a phone, and are not there to see the ramifications or the impact that it has on the other person” (1). This quote clearly shows that people who bully innocent people don’t care about one’s emotions or what the effects might be after they are bullied. Modern communication technology abuse is an accumulative issue and a social and world community problem, so therefore appropriate efforts should be made to raise an effective awareness campaigns and encourage people to get involved, in order to keep our society safe and prevent these types of dangers.

Cyberbullying is predominant among teens and can have permanent destructive psychological effects on the victims. Bullying can have an impact on everyone – those who are being bullied, those who bully, even those who observe it. Cyberbullying is associated with many negative consequences that cause severe emotional, psychological, social and even spiritual pain, and it can even lead to an unfortunate suicide. Many people don’t realize the effects that cyberbullying has, until it occurs in their lives. Digital harassment might appear like nothing to an individual since there is no physical interaction, but in reality it can hurt much more than it seems. Behind those screens are human beings with real feelings that can be experiencing undesirable effects. Bullying has become an epidemic throughout the years, and it is a serious problem that needs our attention, and must be confronted with serious efforts. According to Kowalski:

The consequences that follow from cyberbullying include the physical, psychological, social, and academic effects that the experience has for the victim and the perpetrator as well as the response that the victim offers to the perpetrator. Responses to cyberbullying vary widely, due in part to differences in the way individuals appraise the situation. These responses can range from doing nothing, a common response, to victims murdering the perpetrator or committing suicide.

The effects are infinite. As I mentioned before, we should do something about it, before another life is taken. While the victims are suffering from behavioral stress, the perpetrators seem to have no feelings whatsoever. Robin M. Kowalski complicates matters further when she writes, “Cyberbullying has been tied to tobacco, alcohol, and drug use, as well as eating disorders, anxiety and depression, reduced self-esteem, loneliness, and suicidal ideation” (4).

How can cyberbullying be prevented from happening? There are a lot of possible solutions that can prevent cyberbullying from occurring in schools, public places and more prevalent in home or other secluded areas. Educators and school officials can start by addressing the issue and raise awareness to the public in order to limit the access to the cyber world. In Chaker’s article, “New Laws, Policies Attempt to Address Harassment That Originates off Campus, she mentions that, “Schools and local officials have been hearing increasing calls from parents to step in. But educators are torn between the desire to stop bad behavior and the limits on their ability to intervene. Much of the badmouthing takes place on home computers and off school grounds, where schools have little or no authority.” Too many parents have let their kids down, by not supervising them on the internet, and allowing them to do whatever they please. Parents should protect their children’s use of technology from an early age and take the responsibility. The average parents are usually unprepared and unaware of the dangers of social media technologies, thus promoting cyberbullying and plethora of dangers the world today is not prepared and unable to adequately act upon the issue. A parent’s role is to teach, guide, and limit the access to internet, they are the ones who should monitor when things go wrong online and offline. In order to keep cyberbullying from happening, there are number of ways schools can make the facilities safer, According to, “stopbullying.gov” they recommend to “Assess school prevention and intervention efforts around student behavior, including substance use and violence. First, we need to educate ourselves about this topic that needs immediate attention. Study about it, take notes, research the wed and resource lists on the internet to get more data about the topic, how it works and how to prevent it, observe the bullying, and see what the impact will be afterwards, and consider talking to your colleagues and see what they’re seeing and experiencing. Second thing to reflect on is to encourage parents to keep a close eye on their children’s web use. Another thing to consider is setting up some kind of anti-cyberbullying movement, for example Forbes had an article on Monica Lewinsky, how she had experienced cyberbullying and what it had done to her. “It was only two years later that she had read an article about a freshman named Tyler Clementi. Unfortunately his roommates at college videotaped Tyler kissing another man, and the video went viral on the internet, he was made fun of, he was harassed online and offline, one day he had enough and jumped off the George Washington Bridge and killed himself. It was then when Monica Lewinsky decided to set up the Tyler Clementi Foundation for vulnerable youth, the LGBT youth program was intended to help these young kids to find purpose for each of them”. According to Time magazine, “Technology has transformed the lives of teens, including the ways they pick on one another. If parents and teachers think it’s hard to control mean girls and bullying boys in school, they haven’t reckoned with cyberspace” (2). Technology is a brilliant tool for connecting with people and friends, but like all tools children under ten years old learn to use it and use it irresponsibly. Parents must assist and provide supervision with limits set, to ensure their kids’ safety and provide guidance. Adults these days didn’t grow up with technology that we as teens are so connected to. And half of them are clueless of the modern dangerous activities that are going on in the media world. To prevent cyberbullying, parents must set rational limits that potentially will help your children make responsible decisions when it comes to internet, get to know your child’s internet friends , it’s easy to make friends, but watch out for the friendly strangers; and monitor their online friendship as you would in the physical world. It is extremely easy to pretend that you’re someone else online, especially to vulnerable kids.

Can cyberbullying be regulated? How about should the state officials and the government pass laws against bullying, especially cyberbullying? Protesters that are against cyberbullying argue that something needs to be done about the aggression and danger in the cyber-world. According to the article, “Should states and federal government pass further anti-bullying legislation to target cyberbullying?” “Critics of prosecuting cyberbullies say that criminalizing online behavior might infringe on people’s First Amendment right to free speech. Cyberbullying is not a problem for the courts, critics say, but a dilemma best solved by schools and parents.” Promulgation of laws are a slippery slope. They tend to after time become abusive and infringe on more appropriate use of the internet, personal freedoms and first amendment rights. Clearly the issue that we are facing isn’t going to go away right away, unless some effort is put in. I believe that not only the government should be involved in, but especially parents, schools, as well as the authorities. In other words, I think that the concept is misinterpreted in schools, whether or not, should there be policies against the cyberbullying, or if nothing else, the idea should be clearly stated in which the conditions that is under school grounds should be dealt with outside school. I also encourage our world to be nonviolent and safe place for the populations, that in order to limit the cyberbullying teachers, parents, and other authorities would stand up and work together in solving the problem without the need for a formal law or policies. Not only should there be some effort put in, but parents also should institute appropriate rules and the use of cellphones, computers or any kind of technology that can be accessed.

There are those who think that traditional bullying is much more common than cyberbullying because it’s never spoken about and it’s trending in silence. For several years, cyberbullying has been a serious topic among researchers. As more and more technology spreads, the more it influences people, specifically young people, so therefore cyberbullying becomes more common. According to research that has been done in this article, “Traditional Bullying vs. Cyberbullying” “traditional bullying may only last during certain years of a child’s or teen’s school life, or is able to be eliminated by a change in the location of their family. With cyberbullying, the results of bullying can be incredibly long lasting (mostly permanent when online), and has been shown to have traumatic effects on victims including serious psychological damage including anxiety, depression, and other serious stress and emotional related disorders.” I agree with the article above because the cyberbullying not only has long lasting effects, but it also sticks in your mind for days, weeks and maybe years. To my knowledge, cyberbullying is more common than traditional bullying among the young generation because technology exists and people will keep using it the wrong way until it harms someone.

In today’s world its almost impossible to remove or not use the internet, everyone depends on it. Today’s world is centered extremely on the World Wide Web and the use of technology. If someone pulls away from the internet, it can cause some serious issues and they are considered an outcast to the world, therefore if an individual thinks that by deleting all of your social networking will stop the cyberbullying, that is true in some cases, however it creates a bigger opportunity for them to be bullied and harassed because it shows your weaknesses and it is an easier approach for a bully to look stronger and bigger. Digital harassment cannot just go away, as technology keeps progressing, so will the cyber world and the risks of it will keep increasing more and more. People can’t just stop the cyberbullying, but they can generate legitimate programs that might help catch the suspects and provide them with the consequences they deserve. You’re going to have to act stronger and face the nasty things in life, don’t try to run away from it, it will catch up to you and hit you much bigger. Cyberbullying is dissimilar from traditional bullying, and in fact it has an advantage in a way that people can use to disguise themselves in order to harass people. It is sad to even think about how some people get away from cyberbullying because nobody can tell who they are, they may be just be our neighbors, no one knows, that’s the problem, so as a community we need to pull it together to do something about it.

The evidence and research is completely overwhelming for this cumulative problem. Cyberbullying must be stopped! There are many potential solutions to help limit these issue. It is a horrendous situation what our countries are facing with. Cyberbullying is not a little problem that we can just take lightly and hope it goes away, we should educate ourselves and then take this problem to our own hands. Even though there isn’t a way to eliminate cyberbullying in schools, our communities and homes people should consider having a mind of importance of this harassment, and that is the key to downsizing this increasing issue. Recognizing and understanding that cyberbullying is in fact a crucial problem will support it out of the classroom and other public places. Cyberbullying is a vast problem in this world, it effects the people who are being bullied in so many ways that are totally unfortunate, and the effects are ceaseless due to the harmful behaviors. Parents should consider having a family computer rather than one in a child’s bedroom for safety motives, in order to monitor them and preventing any potential problems. I strongly think that if parents want to keep their kids safe and avoid any harmful dangers that they can face, they should consider taking the advantage of their kids’ technology, to set boundaries, to do whatever to help them and guide them in the right path so they can make smart decisions.

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