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CYBER BULLYING Poster
Transcript of CYBER BULLYING Poster
firstname.lastname@example.org / ph.: 832-310-7598
Texas A&M University
The advent of the internet era in the 21st century, from online chat groups such as AOL (America Online) Instant Messenger, to the mobile phone SMS (Short Message Service) and websites such as Facebook and MySpace has brought up an issue regarding internet safety. More recently this has increased to include cellular phone applications like Whatsapp, and BB (Blackberry) pin, and other electronic gadgets such as laptops, webcams, and tablets, creating a fast growing phenomenon and a variation of bullying. This phenomenon is called “cyber bullying.” In the following pages we will explore the concept of cyber bullying, how it impacts students, its extent of spreading in schools, and what policies against cyber bullying have been created in the United States of America.
Impact on Students
Cyber bullying is the conscious intent to hurt a person through cybernetic means. It is reported as an aggressive, intentional act carried out by a group or individual, using electronic forms of contact, repeatedly and over time against a victim who cannot easily defend him or herself (Menesini & Nocentini, 2009). Luke Gilkerson (2012) wrote that “cyber bullying is deliberately using digital media to communicate false, embarrassing, or hostile information about or to another person.”
The issue of cyber bullying is no secret nowadays. In fact, 43% of teens aged 13 to 17 reported that they have experienced some sort of cyber bullying in the past year (Internet Safety 101, 2012). Cyber bullying cases are often reported on the news. Unfortunately, many of these cases become public after the victim(s) has committed suicide due to the psychological damage cyber bullying caused. But why is that? Psychological research shows that victims of cyber bullying believe they should manage the problem on their own and rarely confide in their parents (Ahlfors, 2010). Although anyone may be a victim of cyber bullying, when these cases are evaluated, it all points at the fact that the students who are attacked are very often shy and introverted students, individuals who at first sight seem different from the rest or students who simply do not follow the fashionable trend.
The Spread of Cyber Bullying in Schools
Twenty years ago cyber bullying was not popular like it is today. The truth is that now this issue is spreading like wildfire. Thus, anti cyber bullying campaigns such as The Great American NO BULL Challenge, Internet Safety 101, Stomp Out Bullying, Delete Digital Drama, and STOP Cyber Bullying have gained popularity. However, even after the appearance of prevention and intervention websites such as stopbullying.com, beingbulliedonline.com, wiredsafety.org, and online-bully.com, the need for cyber bullying prevention websites designed for cyber bullies is imperative.
Nowadays nearly anyone from the youngest student at an elementary school to a senior in high school might be the victim of cyber bullying. Statistics from the online campaign, Internet Safety 101, show that 90% of the teenagers who have seen someone being cyber bullied have ignored the issue, and roughly 68% of them agree that cyber bullying is a serious problem. In addition, last year, 1 million children were cyber bullied through Facebook, 43% of these students were 13 to 17 years old, and only 1 in 6 parents were aware that their child was the victim of cyber bullying (2012). Students agree that it is easy to cyber bully because they do not have to face the victim; therefore, they do it to show off to friends or just to have fun, to embarrass others, to get back at someone, or because they think the victim deserves it (Internet Safety 101, 2012). The question remains that if many parents are aware of this situation why not take a stand and do something? The next section explores the policies that have been created to deal with this issue and make sure those at fault do not go unpunished.
Although cyber bullying cases are increasing, the government is well aware and has created policies to deal with this issue. However, not all of the 50 states have policies on cyber bullying; specifically, between 2006 and 2010, only 35 states have taken legislative action to create and pass bills regarding cyber bullying. According to the National Conference of States Legislature (NCSL), California, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington State belong in the list of states that have passed cyber bullying bills. Moreover, in the state of Texas, penalties resulting from conviction of cyber bullying can range from a Class A Misdemeanor up to a 3rd degree felony. There are many factors involved in obtaining this conviction. The criminal history of the offender is considered in determining the severity of sentencing. Misdemeanor violations will most likely include fines and community service but a felony charge can mean two to ten years in prison (The Dick Law Firm, 2013). In the same way, other states like Alabama, Colorado, and Delaware have passed House Bills that allow schools to create policies aimed toward preventing cyber bullying in schools. Also, states such as California, Georgia, and Massachusetts have passed Senate Bills which strictly prohibit cyber bullying on school grounds, and authorize suspension, school transfer, and even expulsion if a student is found guilty of cyber bullying (NCSL, 2010).
Cyber bullying involves psychologically abusing or harassing someone through electronic devices of mass communication and online. Unfortunately, it is a fast growing problem in schools across the United States of America and in many cases parents and/or teachers are unaware until after the victim commits suicide.
However, state representatives have put efforts together in order to create and pass bills that address the issue of cyber bullying and punish the perpetrators. In Texas, for example, depending on the severity of the infraction, cyber bullying offenders may face suspension, expulsion and, in the worse cases, jail for two to up to ten years.
In a society in which the concepts of family and parental education are evolving at a fast pace, it is of supreme relevance that students and parents, as well as teachers, do not ignore cyber bullying. They ought to know how to prevent and stop this issue. Being part of the solution is easy. It only takes a click to find ways to get involved online and participate of an array of initiatives aimed towards dealing with cyber bullying.
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