With the massive growth of users on social media platforms, cyber bullying has become a real problem. The perceived anonymity of comments can lead individuals to say or do things that they would not normally do (Cass & Anderson, 2011). Cyber bullying has been as the root of teen suicides and has become a hot topic even with President Obama (Shepperd, 2011). The U.S. Federal Government as well as State and Local Government have gotten involved to try to deter bullying on the Internet. The social media giant Facebook® has tried to deter cyber bullying by creating tools to address online harassment (Siner, 2013). Even with the increased awareness and the countless prevention programs, cyber bullying is still a serious issue amongst teens and young adults.
The United States Federal Government defines cyber bullying as “bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites. Examples of cyberbullying (sic) include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles” (Cyber Bullying, 2013). There are currently no Federal Statutes for cyber bullying. However, States are enacting their own cyber bullying statutes based on the federal definition of cyber bullying. With many statutes enacted by states, some states are tougher on cyber bullying than others and some states have not passed legislation to address online harassment. Only nineteen states have passed legislation for cyber bullying (State Cyberbullying Legislation, 2013). Of the nineteen states to pass legislation, California has passed the toughest laws against cyber bullying (Nelson, 2013). The Department of Education has been instrumental in helping states to create policies as well as laws to prevent online harassment (Cyber Bullying, 2013). Over half of teens and young adults have reported that they have been victims of cyber bullying; and about the same number of teens and young adults have said they have participated in cyber bullying (Cyber Bullying Statistics, 2013).
With cyber bullying statistics on the rise and the teens and young adults moving into adulthood, will online harassment continue with them? Is there some a point when individuals outgrow this sort of thing? An article I found recently seems to uphold the fact that even adults find cyber bullying an acceptable way to act. In Georgia a group of moms would use Facebook® to make nasty comments about babies they considered to be ugly (Williams, 2013). Although most of us find this reprehensible, there are segments of society that are okay with this type of behavior. With the freedom the Internet gives to make comments, so many people now feel they have a voice and want to make that voice heard. Just looking at Yahoo articles, there is an area to post comments and to respond to other’s comments. Sometimes these comments are constructive, but most are negative and argumentative. But as a leader how do I create an environment that is free from cyber bullying?
I am not sure there is an answer for this. I know that creating policies in the work environment can deter most cyber bullying, but what can be done in the public sector? Every state has policies against bullying but only a handful of states have laws against cyber bullying (Cyber Bullying, 2013). Is it because there is so much gray area or that the Internet is so difficult to regulate? Even China is finding it hard to completely regulate the Internet, and their government is considered a totalitarian government with the ability to shutdown things they deem inappropriate for their citizens (Tanquintic-Misa, 2013). But even China suffers from individuals using the Internet to attack political policies as well as other individuals. So there seems to be nowhere where cyber bullying in some form is not present. I feel that by teaching proper online etiquette instead of just creating punishments; perhaps cyber bullying can be lessened. I do believe it is human nature to be critical of others, but it is how that criticism is directed that makes a difference. What do you think?
Cass, C., & Anderson, S. A. (2011, September 27th). Poll: Young People Say Online Meanness Pervasive and Serious. Retrieved from Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/27/poll-young-people-say-onl_n_982834.html
Cyber Bullying. (2013, November 25th). Retrieved from stopbullying.gov: http://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/what-is-it/
Cyber Bullying Statistics. (2013, November 29th). Retrieved from Bullying Statistics: http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/cyber-bullying-statistics.html
Nelson, N. (2013, November 6th). Cyberbullying Laws – How Fast Are States Adapting? Retrieved from Chapman University School of Law: http://www.lawschoolblog.org/cyberbullying-laws-how-fast-are-states-adapting/
Shepperd, S. (2011, March 10). White House Conference Tackles Bullying. Retrieved from CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/03/10/obama.bullying/
Siner, E. (2013, November 7th). Facebook Takes On Cyberbullies As More Teens Leave Site. Retrieved from NPR: http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2013/11/07/243710885/facebook-takes-on-cyberbullies-as-more-teens-leave-facebook
State Cyberbullying Legislation. (2013, November 29th). Retrieved from UNC: http://www.unc.edu/courses/2010spring/law/357c/001/Cyberbully/state.html
Tanquintic-Misa, E. (2013, November 29th). China Heaves Sigh, Says Online Rumour Crackdown Successful. Retrieved from International Business Times: http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/526012/20131129/china-internet-online-crackdown-facebook-twitter.htm#.UpjFEScyGAY
Williams, D. (2013, November 13th). Moms on Facebook Bully Baby Girl’s Appearance. Retrieved from USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/11/12/facebook-moms-bully-baby/3511169/
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged Bullying, Chapman University School of Law, Cyberbullying, Cyberstalking, Department of Education, Facebook, Local Government, United States Federal Government.