The twenty first century bully is not your usual mean searching Joe at the end of the street block. The modern day bully is a faceless character hiding behind a keyboard. Cases of cyberbullying have steadily risen over the last decade to catastrophic levels. With the myriad social networking platforms, cyberbullies are having an open season with a large number of targets. Cyberbullying among young human beings in our case teenagers has received a high degree of observation particularly due to the high teenage suicide fee who were reportedly cyberbullied. Questions have been raise on the legislative laws used in opposition to bullies. Is the government doing enough to curb the menace? Are the schools’ antibullying policies effective and do school administrative authority put emphasis on these policies since most cyberbullying occurs in or around schools premises?
Based on the article, almost all states in the US now dictate schools to thoroughly look into cyberbullying in their policies against cyber bullying. However, it has been noted that there is great pliability in how schools place on cyber bullying efforts to stop cyber bullying that occurs outside schools’ premise. A lot of cyberbullying is done on social media platforms which are largely used by teenagers between the ages of 12 – 19 years. Michele Hamm, a pediatrics researcher at the University of Alberta, said that cyberbullying was and is among the main causes of depression in teenagers and went on to further say that cyberbullying has adverse effects than child abuse (Schneider et al 173).
The government through various antibullying campaigns have begun the journey to sensitize and minimize cases of cyberbullying. Schools have set up toll free numbers where students who are cyberbullied and want anonymity can call experts that take up the complaint immediately. What about the cyberbullying that happens when the teenager is at home? Study show that teenagers are afraid to tell their parents of cases of cyber bullying. This is based on the fact most teenagers feel that if they report such cases then they would face certain repercussions such as internet access denial. Parents’ reactive way towards cyberbullying of eliminating the medium of bullying seldom works. This begs the question are parents competent enough to deal with cyberbullying? This is a question raised in numerous cyberbullying conventions around the country. Various stakeholders have joined the band wagon of sensitizing the society against cyberbullying. This has resulted to various movie stars coming out and boldly champion anti cyberbullying policies. Politicians have also not been left behind in this anti cyberbullying and bullying in general campaigns.
Based on the article identifying a cyberbully is not the easiest task as they are quite skilled in hiding their tracks and only specialized units of the police force can identify them (Schneider et al 171). The cyber bully is not the average bully, these is a very smart individual with a high IQ, and thus he/she becomes very difficult to catch. Some of these cyberbullies are so good at hiding their tracks that it takes specialized authorities time to close in on them. An investigative reporter said that some cyberbullies, though, teenagers have acquired impressive technology skills that are beyond them. With the internet, anyone can learn various skills that were once quite impossible to find like hacking.
The government has done quite a lot in tackling teenage cyberbullying but can do more. Stringent regulations should be set up governing minors’ access to the internet. The laws around bullying as a whole need to be reviewed accordingly. The recent shooting of kids in one of schools in the US has resulted in many schools putting in place a zero tolerance policy. By this policy many schools have put in place stringent laws against aggressive behavior and this includes cyber bullying. The question everyone asks is, what happens to young people who are expelled or suspended for engaging in this aggressive behavior? The American laws on childhood education state that such students should receive a “appropriate and free education.” Therefore the article notes that such students are bound to return to the same schools they have caused havoc school.
Parents at home are key role players in fighting cyber bullying. Parents should monitor closely their children’s cyber activity to prevent cases of cyberbullying. It is not enough just to place firewalls on the home computer and therefore they should proactively follow through on their children’s online behavior. Cases of cyberbullying have occurred numerous times on the home computers with the parents / guardians being oblivious to this. Teenagers have gone to the extent of writing suicide notes on social media that parents find out when it is very late. The more parents start talking to their children about cyber bullying and keenly following on their online activities then the cases of cyber bullying may drastically reduce. To end cyber bullying, we must all work together: the government, the school administration and parents. This is a societal problem and everyone in the society ought to chip in for us to see a world free of cyber bullying.
Schneider, Shari Kessel, et al. “Cyberbullying, school bullying, and psychological distress: A regional census of high school students.” American journal of public health 102.1 (2012): 171-177.