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Cyber Bullying: What’s going on here?

by CHWatch on May 6, 2011

It used to be that bullying only happened at school. Children could come home and be comforted by their parents after an awful day at school, but now bullies are everywhere: on Facebook and on mobile phones. It’s hard to believe that with the evolution of technology, some of the oldest ideas seem to tag along for the ride. In this new age where kids have their lives posted everywhere on Facebook, tumblr, Twitter, Blogspot, and MySpace, it is easier to bully now more than ever. The end result? Many children are taking their lives or come really close to it before someone intervenes.

What is happening? Some children connect with social media by creating profiles that allow them to harass their peers. In one case involving students from Stonewall Jackson High School in Manassas, Virginia, a student created a Facebook profile dedicated to girls at her school she didn’t like. She named it Stonewall Hoes and posted pictures of nine girls with lewd captions. The girl is now facing a possible year in jail and a $2,500 fine. None of these girls have committed suicide. It is possible that they never really saw the site before the creator was apprehended. But there are numerous examples of students taking their lives because of cyber bullying.

Megan Meier hung herself before she turned 14. In this case Meier, who lived in Dardenne Prairie, Missouri, had allegedly spread a rumor about a neighbor of hers so this neighbor along with her mom decided to get revenge. They created a MySpace account with the intention of finding out Megan’s feelings towards her classmates and teachers. The false account was named Josh Evans. Megan and Josh became friends. They never spoke in real life; it was all on the computer. It’s hard to know what was said, but the knowledge that a grown woman, an authority figure, was involved in creating the false profile is horrendous. Though they weren’t overtly malicious, they still pushed a young woman over the edge to taking her life.

Another case involved Phoebe Prince in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Phoebe committed suicide because she was constantly harassed in school and on the internet. She had just moved to South Hadley from Ireland. While attending the school she briefly dated a popular student and that was when the bullying started. She was called “Irish slut” and “whore” on her Facebook profile and on all her other social media sites. It didn’t stop there. She was also bullied at school with students knocking books out of her hands and throwing things at her. On the last day of her life, one of the nine students who were bullying her threw a can of Red Bull at her. She hung herself. Afterwards, those same nine were posting horrible things on Phoebe’s memorial page.

I think these horrible publicized events only scratch the surface of the cyber bullying that goes on. What can we as a society do about it? I think there is a lot of pressure on teachers and principals to mold kids into the people they should be.

But they should be held completely responsible for these events.

Should they halt all school activity in order to give the bully talk?

I don’t know. I feel that those who bully have a so-called legitimate reason. A reason that they believe is justifiable. It doesn’t make it right; it means that they have a skewed view on how they should behave. And unfortunately the parents are the ones who know the children the most. They are the ones who should be molding these kids.

The schools are the ones to foresee the development and make minor changes, not full-scale rehabilitation. And the students who are afraid to stand up, need to stand up. Someone could have helped her pick up her books. Someone could have reached out and stood by her. I can’t say I know everything that happened, but I would like to think that now in places like South Hadley, Manassas, and Dardenne Prairie, students are not afraid to do things differently and instead of hoping to be men and women, become men and women.

About the Author: Stephen owns and also writes for: Technected.com

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