Megan Meier was a 14-year old girl from Missouri who was full of life. Like many young people her age, she was full of hopes, dreams, and so much love to give, that is, until cyber bullying entered the picture and took her life away. This and more horrifying stories make us believe that this kind of bullying is more fearful than we may already know.
What is Cyber Bullying?
Although internet is very helpful and convenient, in recent years however, we have seen devastating effects of communication technology, the most common of which is cyber bullying. The growing number of harassment cases around the world only proves that communication technology has already been exploited to the worst.
Growing up, we see mean kids bullying small and helpless kids in school campuses and playgrounds. The same thing happens in cyberspace, only this time, the effects are more devastating and spread infinitely faster.
Cyber bullying definition is the use of communication technology like e-mails, social media, chat rooms, cell phones, and the likes, by young people to embarrass, harass, humiliate, threaten and torment other young people.
What Does the Press Say?
A quick look at the following cyber bullying articles will tell us how rampant this problem is:
- Maclean’s Canadian magazine stated that many young people rely on the internet as their social lifeline. But it can also be their social death. About ¼ of young people population who are using the internet reported that they had received materials saying hateful things either to them or to other young people they know.
- 1/3 of teenagers in America admitted that they had been targets of cyber bullies in 2007.
- A director of a popular online safety group believes that 80% of children ages 10-14 have each some horrible cyber bullying stories to tell.
These bullying facts show that this kind of bullying is a serious matter. Hence, an emerging concern to fight it should be prioritized. Fortunately, a lot of countries have already taken significant steps to raise awareness against this issue. Since 2006, more and more states in the USA had been active in tracking down offenders of laws against this type of harassment. Aside from Missouri, other states like Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont already passed laws to protect children and young adults from the horrors brought by the cyber bullying.
What Can We Do?
Cyber bullying is believed to be the new global epidemic. More children are affected and we do not know who the next victim would be. But as parents, teachers, and guardians, we can definitely do something to help fight this threat that harms most children and youths today.
- Educate. Schools should instill cyber ethics to all students at all times. There are schools that add policy to discipline the student who proved to be bullies.
- Explain the dangers. Children tend to be naive when it comes to using the internet and other communication technologies. By explaining to them the dangers that lurk in using these technologies unsupervised, they will take the necessary precautions.
- Set limits to your child’s use of technology. Reasonable rules, when consistently enforced, will make your child understand how important it is to follow your terms of using technology.
- Make sure that the computer is situated in the area where it is possible for every family member to see. This way, you can always be on guard for any possible cyber bullying episodes.
We should not waste a single second as we inch farther and battle against this type of bullying. If we waste another second, who knows? The next one telling their traumatic cyber bullying stories could be our own child.
*Image Credit: By ange Embuldeniya from Somewhere… (Stop Cyber Bullying Day Uploaded by Doktory) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons