Bullying nowadays is not any more restricted to threatening or harassing in the school bus or in the school premise, it has reached the Internet through the means of cyber bullying harassment.
You can call it cyber bullying harassment, if a student threatens another of physical abuse, death warning, posts debasing remarks or substances about them, hacks into their e-mail account and mis-utilizes their personal information, posts their digitally morphed photographs that were taken through mobile phones or digital cameras with almost pornographic features or posts something racially demeaning on the Internet.
The Anonymous Bully
There are thus many faces of cyber bullying harassment and the main reason for it is that it is really easy to stay anonymous in the web world. One can cause severe harm to another without revealing the least detail of their own whereabouts. It is not cyber bullying harassment if a student does these things targeting teachers or the school administration. It should also not to be confused with cyber stalking, when the attacker and the victim both are adults.
Cyber bullying harassment can also be as simple as repeatedly disturbing someone by sending e-mails or chat messages if the latter does not approve of those or does not want to stay in contact with the sender. Not only the assurance of anonymity and the simplicity and ease of using the electronic media are responsible for pushing the toll of cyber bullying harassment upward. It is also because, one can cause harm to or abuse another without using their own physical strength, or courage or their own voice. This is the point where cyber bullying harassment proves easier to undergo than common bullying.
Prevention Best Approach
The fact that it is almost impossible to identify or control the activities of an individual in the Internet environment has also added to the increasing incidents of cyber bullying harassment.
The picture worsens because given the speed and universal accessibility of information available on the Internet makes it impossible to stop the pestilent activities. And by the time it is detected or removed from the site or account, the stuff has already reached thousands of households through instant downloading. Therefore while it is not possible to stop the activity when it is being done, it is best to prevent it from happening at the very first place.
Dangers to the Child
Cyber bullying harassment often takes its toll severely on the victim and things go completely out of hand. Teenage victims getting depressed, losing faith and confidence, panicking, avoiding friends and family or getting angry at the slightest context are most common after the effect of cyber bullying harassment. In extreme unfortunate cases, they turn to committing suicide to get rid of the unbearable humiliation.
Sometimes, teenagers end up losing money or something valuable. This, in addition to some other factors let them hide the matter from their parents. This further aggravates the situation and before anything can be done, a valuable life is lost. Even if the victims do not take the extreme step, they often become a life long victim of trauma and frustration. Some even lose their psychological balance.
Role of the School
Schools have a positive role in tackling the menace of cyber bullying harassment. Most of the time, the hazards of getting entangled in legal harassment keeps the schools from taking disciplinary action against the accused student. They also keep themselves away at a safe distance by citing the fact that the particular incident took place beyond school hours or outside the school premises and that’s why it was not a part of their administrative responsibilities. This often lets the accused escape unscathed. Also, the fear that a student’s involvement in cyber bullying harassment might drag the reputation of the school to dust keeps the school authority from taking stringent action against the concerned student.
State Legislation and Laws
Rhode Island, New York, Maryland and Missouri are some of the states in the United States that has promulgated legislation to curb the menace of cyber bullying harassment. In order to criminalize cyber bullying harassment, a completely new set of laws are being sought by the legal experts, given the novelty of the crime. California is the first state to put the concerned legislation into force, empowering school administrations to tackle cyber and traditional bullying in a strictly legal way. Laws to make Internet Service Providers take responsibility for cyber bullying harassment are also under consideration.
What You Can Do
While schools are asked to take positive initiatives to bring down the danger of cyber bullying harassment, parents should also be informed of their children’s online activities. Keep a watch on the sites your children visit and explain to them the dangers of divulging personal information like names, addresses, contact numbers to strangers while discouraging them from doing these things. Don’t avoid open discussion of sexual or other controversial threats. If your child has been victimized, immediately report the matter to legal authorities.
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