Cyberbullyingis a common trend in the modern technological era. It refers to theuse of electronic communication devices to threaten, embarrass,harass or target another person. The rate at which cyberbullying hasincreased raises an alarm drawing the attention of both the publicand decision makers. Many people have come up in the light toadvocate against cyberbullying because of the adverse effects it hason the victims. There is an increase of several cases of cyberbullying especially in the social media sites that are visited bymany people across the globe. This usually leaves the victimsdepressed, embarrassed or devastated. In response to this, manypeople claim that cyberbullying should be stopped by applying harsherpenalties like criminalizing it. In fact, the discussion oncriminalizing cyberbullying is currently heated up as people come upwith differing opinions on the same (Harasymiw 126). Whereas some arefor the idea that cyberbullying should be criminalized, others feelthat this is too harsh a punishment. The modern person lives in adigital world where all forms of electronic communication is thenorm. Any form of rumor passed on the internet spreads very fast asit reaches a wide range of people within a short period of time.Deriving from this perspective, it is prudent to criminalizecyberbullying.
Oneof the greatest forms of bullying is by use of harsh words tointimidate a person. For this reason, cyberbullying should be seen asa serious offense. Currently, people use internet to intimidateothers by use of harsh words that leaves their victims embarrassedand intimidated. For instance, young people may use the internet tospread rumors about a person of interest. Some of these rumors goviral and the readers tend to believe them and join in intimidatingthe victim. Something that may have been started as a joke by aperson with malicious intentions may end up ruining the reputation ofa person. You will agree with me that regaining a reputation oncespoiled is very difficult. The victims of such acts may have adifficult time coping in their usual environment because of theembarrassment caused. For instance, a person may begin a rumor on thesocial media sites that one of the students is having a deadlydisease such as an STI. Such a rumor may spread very fast leaving thevictim feeling embarrassed by such comments. People may even decideto isolate the victim because of the fear that they may be infectedwith the disease. This is a good reason why cyberbullying shouldattract a heavy penalty. People who accuse others falsely and spreadrumors about a person should not be left scot free.
Cyberbullyingis a risky act that can lead to suicide (MTN). When a person iscyberbullied, he or she feels terrible to an extent of desiring tocommit suicide. Some forms of cyberbullying leaves the victimsfeeling very devastated and not wanting to associate with otherpeople. This is more common if a bully targets victims using verymean words so that the world may read about it. In such a case,people tend to isolate such a person and he or she is left alone todeal with the disaster. In such a case, a person is more likely tohave suicidal thoughts because they feel embarrassed to be seen inpublic, and secondly, because they have no friends to talk to. Infact, there are people who are known to have committed suicide as aresult of cyberbullying. These people felt so bad that they could nottake it more. Having this in mind, the right thing to do iscriminalize cyberbullying and safe many lives. It may sound stupid,but many people who have been bullied may have difficulty facing theworld. It cannot be easy when you feel that everyone is talking aboutyou or pointing fingers on you. Those who are lucky may receivecounseling to help them cope with so much hatred resulting fromrumors spread about them on social media. Negative publicity is not acup of tea for many, especially those who are not very strong to dealwith so much hatred from others. The decision makers need to focus inthis aspect and consider the wellbeing of all.
Cyberbullyingis an extremely serious issue that calls for the attention of all. Itmay not seem as serious to many, but it is indeed solemn. It has manyindirect effects that can impact negatively on the wellbeing of thevictims of cyberbullying. For example, bullying a student may impacton her health and academic performance. It is difficult for a studentwho has been cyberbullied to perform well in school because of theeyebrows raised. Every time the victim moves around the school,everybody points fingers on them. If such a student is not strongenough, his or her academic perform is likely to be ruined. Safe forthat, such a victim may opt to drop out of school so as not to facethe school community again. The future of such a person isjeopardized greatly. Therefore, it is paramount to protect thevictims of cyberbullying to ensure the wellbeing of all isprioritized (Masiello and Diana 53).
Onthe other hand, there are those who feel that criminalizingcyberbullying is unnecessarily harsh. This claim is of the view thatwords do not inflict physical pain and should not be taken seriously.From this perspective, young people should learn to be more strongand able to withstand some form of bullies. Mean people are and havealways been there hence, they should be left alone to do what theydo best. Some forms of cyberbullying are not as strict as they seemto be. The best way to deal with this is by ignoring the offendersand focusing on something more meaningful. Dealing with mean peopleis a meal that every person tastes at some point in life. Even if itis not cyber bullying, young people will always pick on others. Theymay exchange bitter words, but this should not raise an alarm as ithappens every day. In this case, the only solution would be to staystrong and wait till the rumors fade away. In addition, there are somany forms of cyber bullying hence, it would be difficult to drawthe line on what qualifies to be criminalized or not. Some are minorand are often brushed off almost immediately. People must talk andwill always have something negative to say in a positive environment.
Theargument provided for not criminalizing cyberbullying is invalid.Harassing another young person for no apparent reason should betreated as a serious offense or a police matter (BrollandLaura 1).Theidea that cyberbullying should continue to persist only makes mattersworse. The effects in people are cyberbullied are not different fromthe effects of a person that has been tortured emotionally. Noteverybody has the capacity to stay strong amidst terrible rumors orthreats. We should promote an environment that honors others andpromotes their social well being. There is nothing like stayingstrong when one is being harassed in public. For example, harassingsomeone and spreading rumors such as being homosexual cannot be takenlightly by the victim especially if he is not a homosexual. Thereshould be a limit to which people should be allowed to bully othersusing the electronic means of communication.
Withoutdoubt, cyberbullying has devastating effects on the victims. Someforms of cyberbullying may be too bad for the victims to bear. Thisis why there are cases where people drop out of school or opt tocommit suicide because of shame. Whether the rumors being spread aretrue or not, cyberbullying has no place in the society. We are livingin the times when our lives are connected to the internet thus, asmall threat or rumor about something is bound to get viral. It mayseem like a small issue but in the real sense it is a lifethreatening thing that can be avoided by putting the right measures.The decision makers should take a keen look at the problem andprovide a lasting solution that will protect victims ofcyberbullying. In addition, having a harsh penalty for cyber bullieswill deter young people from committing this act (Manuel219).
Broll,Ryan, and Laura Huey. "“Just Being Mean to Somebody Isn’taPolice Matter”: Police Perspectives on Policing Cyberbullying."Journalof school violenceahead-of-print (2014): 1-22.
Harasymiw,Therese. Cyberbullyingand the Law.New York, NY: Rosen Central, 2013. Print.
Manuel,Natasha Rose. "Cyber-bullying: Its recent emergence and neededlegislation to protect adolescent victims." Loy.J. Pub. Int. L.13 (2011): 219.
Masiello,Matthew G, and Diana Schroeder. APublic Health Approach to Bullying Prevention., 2014. Print.
MTN.Cyberbullying causes suicidal thoughts in kids more than traditionalbullying. 2014. Web. April 7, 2015.http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/273788.php