Cyberbullying is the use of the Internet and related technologies to harm other people, in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner. As it has become more common in society, particularly among young people, legislation and awareness campaigns have arisen to combat it. This definition taken even further is “the use of communication technologies for the intention of harming another person.” Some examples of what constitutes cyberbullying include communications that aim or attempt to intimidate, control, manipulate, put down, falsely discredit, or humiliate the recipient. These actions are ultimately on purpose or deliberate and are repeated. One dilemma with cyberbully’s is the fact that the bully themselves might never be known. A cyberbully may be a person whom the target or victim knows, or could possibly be any online strangers. Sometimes cyberbully’s go as far as having more people whether online friends or friends in real, get involved in their bullying. This is ultimately known as a “digital pile-on” and is when a group gangs up on one person through chat, messaging, or comments.
As recently as 2011, research by the National Crime Prevention Council reported that cyberbullying was a problem almost half of all American teens were affected by. They stated that the most common ways teens are cyberbullied is through the spreading of lies and rumors about the victims, the posting of pictures of the victim without their consent, pretending they are other people online to trick others, and the tricking of people into revealing personal information. 81 percent of teens asked by the National Crime Prevention Council believe that people are cyberbullies because they “think its funny.”
This picture shows data from the Centers for Disease Control in the United States, and clearly shows where the majority of cyberbullying takes place online.
The graph shows that two-thirds of teens have experienced cyberbullying while instant messaging, while 25% have experienced it in chat rooms and through email. Also 23% have said to experienced it while on a web site and lastly 16% have through text messages. What this data shows is the larger narrative, that with advances in technology and and electronics, the idea of cyberbullying was not only created but has advanced as well. Bullys now have a chance to put people down in a way they couldn’t before because now they can ultimately remain anonymous if that is what they truly want. One way to look at the cyberbullies online is similar to the movie “V for Vendetta” when all the people are wearing the same mask. It is impossible to tell any of them apart, and they are one collective mass, just like cyberbullies especially on sites where their identity is not their own, it is easy for them to torment people and ultimately play the mind games they wish. However this does not mean that people are not cyberbullying others through sites like Facebook and Twitter as well.
Why Action Must Be Taken To Stop Cyberbullying
On February 1, 2012 a 14 year old Ursuline School student took her life. Ursuline is a Catholic girls school located in New Rochelle, New York. On the note she left her family it was stated that “bullying” was one of the reasons why she did what she did. It is believed that she faced not only bullying in school but was also hurt as well through cyberbullying.
Also in New York, in Buffalo, a 14 year old Jamey Rodemeyer was the victim of bullying and cyberbullying because of his sexuality. Jamey had recently identified himself as gay in a video he posted for the “it gets better” project, which was meant to promote positives in the lives of young gay, and lesbian people. However on September 18, 2011 he would end up taking his own life because of the bullying he had suffered.
Senator Jeff Klein from New York, had proposed legislation to expand third-degree stalking crimes to include cyber-bullying, so that this would include social media, email, text messages, and other electronic communications. The bill would also include the term “bullycide” which is turning the crime into a second degree manslaughter, and a Class C felony if the individual committing the third-degree stalking intentionally or unintentionally causes the victim to commit suicide.