Time to increase and improve the laws against cyber bullying!
Bullying was once identified as the strong kids picking on the weak kids on the playground. Bullies would use their size and strength as intimidation, and kids felt helpless to defend themselves against their attacks.
In recent years, bullying has become more than just a physical assault; bullies now attack their victims in cyberspace. This is called “Cyber Bullying” and it has been defined as “when someone repeatedly harasses, mistreats, or makes fun of another person online or while using cell phones or other electronic devices.” This assault is not limited to school, and often takes place around the clock by means of text messaging, instant messaging, emails, chat rooms, websites, and blogs.
There are laws against cyber bullying, but it is still on the rise.
For most junior high and high school students, they are either a cyber-bully or know of someone who has been bullied via cyberspace, maybe themselves. According to isafe.org, 42% of kids have been bullied while online with more than a fourth of those having multiple encounters with a bully. This statistic is reserved to hurtful words.
In another study, it was found that 35% of kids have actually been threatened with some kind of harm while online. With a fifth of those being threatened multiple times. Over half of all students admit that they have said hurtful things or had hurtful things said to them online, and 58% of those students have not told their parents or any other adult about the incidences of cyber bullying.
School districts nationwide are becoming more aware of this problem and are implementing awareness programs to help educate students of the dangers of cyber bullying. The phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” have never been more false.
Cyber bullying has caused a significant number of lasting emotional trauma or worse.
Schools need to realize this and take these threats seriously, even if the incident does not happen on campus. Students need to be aware that they are not being wimps or weak if they are experiencing this bullying. They need to have the freedom to talk with teachers and adults about their situations.
Schools need to provide pamphlets that include helpful tips.
These tips need to include advice such as:
- tell a trusted adult UNTIL something happens,
- don’t open or read messages from cyber bullies,
- don’t erase the messages because they need to be recorded to take action,
- protect yourself by never agreeing to meet anyone online,
- block any offending person from your chat or friend lists,
- if the bullying turns to a threat, tell someone you can trust to call the police immediately.
With the changing laws about bullying, students will have a voice against their attackers.
In the last few years, legislation has been implemented and laws against cyber bullying are being enacted nationwide, but more needs to be done. There are currently 44 states that have laws regarding generally bullying and 30 of those states have cyber bullying clauses within the laws.
Most laws fall short of what needs to be done and leave dealing with this problem to the school districts. Some states, like Wisconsin, have rules that all states need to implement. According to their law, it is a misdemeanor crime to “inflict injury or personal harm through the use of email or another computerized communication system. It is illegal to harass, annoy, or otherwise offend another person electronically.”
This is such a problem, that there is a need for more national laws against cyber bullying to be considered. We must protect our children from cyber bullies and from the temptation of bullying others because they think that nothing will happen to them.
How to Cope with Bullying
How to Stop Cyber Bullying
The Perils of Cyber Bullying Harassment
How to Identify the Faceless Cyber Bully
Protect Your Child From the Dangers of Cyber Bullying
How to Check if Your Child is Bullied Online
Know the Signs of Cyber Bullying and Prevent a Problem
Hey You, Stop that Bullying!
It’s No Laughing Matter – Bullying Kills and We are Responsible