The Internet has made the world a smaller place in a good way. We are now able to connect with friends and family who live far away with just an Internet connection. Social media has made keeping in touch with old classmates more accessible, and it even enables us to create new relationships with people who have the same interests. The Internet has made connecting with people around the world more straightforward, and the field of communication has reached great heights, enabling development across many industries possible. From these advantages that came with the advent of social media, some problems came along with it.
Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that occurs using electronic means, sometimes referred to as online bullying. According to a study by researchers at The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, it has become one of the most common types of bullying amongst teenagers. Cyberbullying can happen over cellular phones, computers, and tablets and come in many forms like text messages, comments or posts on social media accounts, online message boards, and forums. This type of bullying is usually open for the public to see and can be witnessed by millions of people who have access to the Internet.
The most common types of cyberbullying are negative, false, embarrassing, or mean content that bullies post online to cause their victims emotional or mental harm. Just like traditional bullying, cyberbullying can cause long-term harmful effects on the victim. The victim’s self-esteem and confidence could be adversely affected, and constant online harassment can cause depression. Statistics show that there’s a connection between cyberbullying and physical harm. 5% of young people who suffer from cyberbullying has reported self-harm, and 3% have reported suicide attempts as a direct result of cyberbullying.
Why is cyberbullying so prevalent? Technology has made the Internet accessible to almost everyone and as each year pass by, the users of devices that connect to the Internet become younger. Another reason is that it’s easy to create an anonymous account on the Internet and bullies feel like they have the power to humiliate and hurt their victims without consequences. However, some cyberbullying can be considered as a crime.
Because of the recent rise in cases of cyberbullying, legislators in some states have started creating laws to stop online bullying or harassment. However, the implementation of these laws often falls into the hands of school officials, which could be a problem since cyberbullying is usually hard to notice. Since the harassment is taking place in digital platforms, teachers may not be able to see or hear when it occurs unless they start patrolling each of their student’s social media accounts.
In California, bullying in educational facilities is not limited to traditional bullying but also includes the use of electronic means. The law also states that each student has the right to get an education from schools and campuses which are safe, secure, and peaceful. What this means is that if a cyberbully is found to be guilty of using an electronic communication device to threaten another student’s life, they can be punished with up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000 because the act is considered to be a misdemeanor.
Laws against cyberbullying are still improved, and while these are being worked on by legislators, it’s best to keep a closer eye on your children for signs of cyberbullying. Although the methods of harassment are different, the symptoms to watch out for between cyberbullying and traditional bullying is the same.
Is your child being harassed or bullied online? Contact us at Hogan Injury for a consultation.
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