Author – Pranjal Rai
Innovations in Technology has led to a new form of bullying in the 21st century called cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is using the web or a telephone to harass a victim with pictures and text. There are reports within the media of youth being harassed by e-mail, postings on websites, instant messages, and mobile text messages worldwide.
As technology has evolved, bullying has proliferated. With the arrival of the web, chat rooms soon followed. Online forums provided a platform for youth to assault one another. Chat rooms were supplemented by Instant Messenger (AIM), an online communication platform that allowed people to spend hours talking to one another in private, one-on-one conversations or in public chat rooms. The program further allowed youth to make group-specific chat rooms. This exclusive forum allowed for youth to urge alongside select groups of friends and mention the newest gossip.
Online innovations have continued due to telecommunication advances. The advent of cell phones within the late 1960s and early 1970s changed the way people communicated. However, these portable communication devices did not become widespread, until the appearance of the second generation of digital network phones in the 1990s. After that, they spread like wildfire. According to a study conducted by the Pew research facility, 75% of 12-17 year-olds own cell phones, which increased from 45% in 2004 and one-in-three teens sends 3,000 text messages per month). Though many parents believe that they are purchasing a cell phone for their child for security reasons, the opposite may be true as many youths admit to utilizing their phones as an instrument for cyberbullying.
So, as technology progresses, anti-bullying policies and laws concerning it must continue to evolve at a speedy and continuous rate. Many of the problems faced by federal and state governments concerning cyberbullying are avoidable for schools and communities at the local level through the implementation of procedures to limit the effects of cyberbullying.
Researches revealed that individuals who are victims of cyberbullying are also the targets of traditional bullying as well, but in traditional type of bullying, the aggressive or brutual behaviors occurred during school hours. Cyberbullying, in contrast, is far more prevalent in the lives of those who are victimized, because they can be reached at any given time of the day, therefore the continuous of the bullying behaviors may result in even stronger negative outcomes than traditional bullying.
Rather than physically stronger, cyberbullies tend to be more technologically advance and better able to access victims online identity, hide their electronic trails, and take advantage of the expanded bullying “repertoire”, which now includes identity theft, account hacking, infecting a victim’s computers, posting embarrassing content .
Although all of the proof illustrates the consequences of cyberbullying on today’s youth, lawmakers at each the state and federal levels still wrestle with the problem. Sadly, it’s taken variety of cases to force lawmakers to come back to terms with the tough reality of true and plan to mildew laws to touch upon such problems. The infringement on student’s first change rights is what originally sparked heated controversies regarding colleges limiting what students may do or say on or off college grounds. Throughout history, the US has been formed by the public’s right to freely categorical their opinions. Inevitably, once a case arises trying to limit these rights, the plaintiff’s facet is usually arduous to argue because of such a powerful tradition. While not limiting constitutional rights, lawmakers should grapple with the tough task of process cyberbullying, yet as decisive correct sanctions for committing the act. Owing to this, several cases coping with freedom of speech on and off college grounds have worked their high to the us Supreme Court within the past.
In another study it was discovered that anger and frustration stay the dominant responses among senior and junior high school students, however students at the elementary level area unit additional seemingly to feel unhappy as a results of being afraid. This can be seemingly as a result of at a younger age youngsters don’t seem to be battling with constant quite competitive social hierarchy generally found inside higher level colleges. So, instead of feeling the requirement to prove themselves among their peers, students at the elementary level tend to well-up inside the initial emotional responses to bullying. This points to the concept that younger youngsters could keep their initial emotional responses to themselves instead of acting out. Unfortunately, notwithstanding the initial emotional reaction to bullying, these emotions have the flexibility to still develop, with serious clinical implications. A 2003 intensive survey study that centered on the clinical effects of cyberbullying reported a rise in emotional distress specifically associated with cyberbullying. The study involving 512 professionals coming back from scientific discipline, psychological medicine and welfare work backgrounds reported that for “one-third (34%) of those youth, the web downside vie a primary role within the client’s treatment” . This proof proves that cyberbullying has noticeable clinical effects on today’s youth.
Similar to speech and harassment laws at the federal level, individual states still wrestle with process the matter and what legal actions to require once a violation happens. Sadly, it took variety of high-profile cases, and even some suicides, to bring the problem to the eye of the many states’ courts and legislatures. One such case rotated around an occurrence in Missouri throughout 2006. This case, formally referred to as us vs. Lori Drew, concerned actor and her girl making a false MySpace account beneath the alias name “Josh.” The defendants used the account to become friends with the victim, 13-year-old Megan Meier, whom Drew’s girl attended college with. When changing into friends with Meier, actor and her daughter started causing hateful comments to her. Meier took these comments to seriously and resulted to committing suicide.
The Missouri district court determined that they might not hold actor directly in command of the harassment resulting in Meier’s death because of extraneous circumstances and lack of legal inclusion. However, because of public outcry, federal prosecutors took charge by applying the pc Fraud and Abuse act to the case. This act is usually accustomed prosecute electronic felony, however during this instance was accustomed apply the Myspace terms of service. The terms need users to abide by a number of rules, that “required truthful and correct registration, refraining from exploitation data from MySpace to harass others [and] refraining from promoting false or dishonest information” (“Unites states of America v. Lori Drew,” 2009). Supported My Space’s terms of service, the jury found actor guilty of 1 law-breaking count for conspiracy and 3 misdemeanors counts for unauthorized pc use. This case caused Missouri to switch its state harassment law to include acts of cyberbullying just like the Lori actor case. The law currently prohibits any transmission that “‘knowingly frightens, intimidates, or causes emotional distress”. Along with recognizing the matter and having the ability to spot solutions, it’s vital that cyberbullying be addressed during a consistent way.
To effectively put a harness on the matter would require “a concerted and coordinated effort – a partnership if you’ll among our families, schools, youth organizations, and communities”… The permanent mental effects are what both the law and prevention programs. The clinical repercussions that bullying and cyberbullying have on today’s youth present the most are striving to eliminate. The fact that these initial emotional responses to bullying in any form have been proven to escalate to the point of suicidal thoughts and violent response is the primary reason for why this issue has become a matter of pressing public concern. The thought of children getting so caught up in the psychological battery of bullying that they commit suicide is extremely troubling, an issue that must be dealt with. Though the legislative and judicial branches at both the state and federal levels are having a difficult time adapting laws to encompass cyberbullying as technology advances, there is assurance in the fact that the issue is a pressing concern. However, it is unsettling that it takes drastic cases such as United States vs. Lori Drew to bring about a direct change in law. Ideally, laws will develop in correspondence with technology to help define the problem itself and establish appropriate judicial repercussions.
As more is learned about the reasons behind bullying and the specific tactics utilized, prevention programs are becoming increasingly more effective. As discussed previously, a successful program needs to clearly identify the problem, establish recognition, and formulate consistent ways of dealing with the issue across all platforms. The biggest struggle for cyberbullying prevention in the future is matching the fast pace of technological innovation with effective preventative techniques.
Pranjal Rai currently studying at Amity Law School.