The internet can be ones best friend or worst enemy. It is a great tool in networking and conducting business. Plus, staying in touch with friends and loved ones across the country. Its much cheaper than making long distance calls and a lot quicker than the postal service. However, it has its downfalls as well. It can also be ones worst enemy, especially with teens and young people today. Their peers make slanderous websites, go to social sites such as MySpace and Facebook and demean each other.
If that is not enough, they use cell phones to make videos to upload on places like You Tube. Also, send horrible text messages and use camera phones to catch their targets in not so nice situations. There have been cases where kids have committed bullycide (suicide by bullying) over this sort of abuse. A recent case is the Megan Meier one in Missouri where a MySpace friend named “Josh" turned out to be a 48 year old housewife and Josh started bullying Megan on MySpace.
In California, there is a bill entitled Assembly Bill 86 introduced by Ted Lieu of Torrance. This passed through the Senate with a 21-11 vote and now goes back to the Assembly for consideration of Senate amendments. If this passes, it would become illegal for kids and teens to bully one another through electronics. Also, they could be expelled from school and face other dire consequences. If you ask me, I am wondering what took them so long?
Cyber bullying has been a serious problem in this nation and really throughout the globe for several years now. These social sites and other free web site hosting sites have been hot beds for attacks and slander against others. You Tube has been the place to upload videos of physical bullying occurring between others. Instant messenger has bullies sending their victims messages in real time. Lets not forget email where a lot of this also happens. Then we move on to other electronics such as cell phones, PDA's and other devices. It has occurred away from authority as situations like these can be very hard to prove. However, it can be done. It's a matter of education. Its time for parents, schools and communities to get involved and crack down on this. Bullying is out right peer abuse and these psychological scars follow a person well into adulthood. This is not uncommon in any abuse survivor whether it be peer, child, domestic, elder or sexual. Plus, bullying affects a whole community and not just one or two people.
I hope this passes into law and people begin to take it seriously. As one who helps those daily that are affected by this, I can tell you that this is not just kids stuff but outright abuse. Its time to get educated and see this for what it is: Abuse!
Resource cited: http://www.justicenewsflash.com/2008/08/13/cyberbullying-law/
Elizabeth Bennett is the Author of Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From A Psychological Perspective and educates others on all forms of bullying and Peer Abuse. To learn more, visit http://www.peerabuse.info