Cyberbullying has become popular in schools nowadays. It is a situation whereby a minor or a child gets threatened, harassed, tormented, embarrassed or humiliated by another child or a teen by the use of the internet and digital technology. It can result in a bashing website whereby teens vote for things like; ugliest student, fattest student among other things. The situation involves a minor on either side. It occurs when a minor gets instigated by a fellow minor either in school or at social places. Cyberbullying is different from sexual exploitation. Sexual exploitation is a situation where an adult tries to seduce a child into off-line meetings. Cyberbullying can be started by a teen and involves sexual predators intrigued by sexual harassment. There are various forms of cyberbullying. It can occur in middle-school level or at high school. A middle school teen can send a hurtful text message to a high-school teen with an intention to harass them. There is no compelling reason as to why bullies harass others. There are possible reasons why cyberbullying is common. One reason for cyberbullying is a situation whereby teens are at the incorrect place and at the erroneous time (Robin, 2008). Bullies think that they cannot be easily caught when they use the internet or mobile phones. This encourages them to continue with the act. Many bullies do it for laughs. They treat others like laughing stalks. Some teens also bully others for entertainment purposes; they may be having a lot of time to waste. Others think that they become popular through bullying others.
Cyberbullying can lead to suicides and depression among the teens. This has caused worries among parents. They keep worrying much about the lewd language of communication used by their children. The act of cyberbullying can result into a charge of juvenile delinquency. It is not usually a onetime communication. It is easy to note that cyberbullying can cause high level of depression compared to traditional bullying. A school teen that has experienced cyberbullying from an anonymous person is likely to feel dehumanized, helpless and isolated during the attack. The hurting messages sent during the act are permanent and hence difficult to remove. There are many people using the internet. Comments on can reach thousands of student’s worlds wide. The online social networking has turned to be common among the teens. These are places where they can communicate, exchange information or meet others. The act f cyberbullying can have insidious effects to a teen. It can turn children away from friendships, schools or life itself. It has also led to children suffering shame, anger, embarrassment and withdrawal (Berson, Berson, & Ferron, 2002).
The internet is accessible to children. There are many social sites found on the internet. They include websites such as MySpace, Bebo and Facebook. Victims of cyberbullying can be reachable at any point and time. Even for children, their homes are no longer under protection from the bullies. They can escape the bullies in the classrooms only to find emails and text messages from them when they reach at their homes. There are no safe places for the children anymore. They can be bullied 24 hours in a day even at their privacy. Children who have been doing nothing in the real life about bullying are active participants of online bullying. The internet makes bullies out of teens who can never be involved in traditional bullying. It is a convenient place for the bullies. The victim reaction to the bullying remains unseen to the bully who does not take it serious. Children will know it once they see. Cyberbullying is inescapable. One may think that it is easy to avoid cyberbullying by getting off-line. However, those teens that do not go online get disadvantaged from visiting finest places where they can socialize. Most parents encourage their children to turn off their mobile phones and stay away from the computers. They do not understand that teens use the mobile phone and the internet as social lifelines in their peer groups.
There are steps which should be taken to curb cyberbullying. The best thing that a victim of cyberbullying can do is to ignore or avoid responding to the bully. They should avoid playing the game played by bullies. They should also not respond to the posts and emails from the bullies. They should also avoid the chat room exchanges with the bullies and seek help from their teachers and parents. Incase they ignore the bully; they should retain the messages so as to serve as evidence to the school officials and the internet providers. When the bully is anonymous, the messages saved will serve as evidence. The police can also use the evidence in case any legal action needs to be taken. The police are unlikely to be involved especially if the bullying has limitation to isolated incidents and a couple of instant messages or emails. They can only be involved when the communication involves threats of death or bodily harm. When a teen receives an urging suicide, the laws consider it to be a death threat. The police should also be involved when there is excessive or repeated harassment through emails, chat rooms and forums. One does not need to fight cyberbullying alone. They should seek help from others. The evidence left by the bullies can be used to execute the bully. The cyberbullies are just bullies with new weapons of harassing others. They should be treated just like any other bullies. It is easy for teens who are victims to fight cyberbullying. Many victims of cyberbullying do not report to the relevant authorities. There is a need to avoid the climate of silence. Cyberbullying is a complicated issue to the teens (Shariff, 2008). However, it is difficult for adults to understand the issue since they are not familiar with internet usage, chat rooms and instant messages. Private companies should take action to fight cyberbullying. Companies should take a step to fight this vice. The accounts of those involved in cyberbullying by use of hate speech should be cancelled. Parents should also give advice to their children. They should discuss with them about social sites and the effects of logging into these sites. The state and schools should also respond to this problem.
In my view, the schools system can be blamed to a large extent for cyberbullying. It is often an escalation or an extension of bullying which happens at schools. Schools should seek authority from the states to be able to cope with cyberbullying. Schools can be sued for extending their authority to the student’s free speech right. Schools can be effective intermediaries in working with the parents in the fight against this vice. The schools should be creative in fighting cyberbullying. They should keep away from claim that their measures exceed their legal authority for the off-school cyberbullying activities. Schools can also create a forum to educate students on cyberbullying. They should seek the right to discipline students when their actions off the school have an effect on other students. The schools should take this as an obligation or contractual issue and not constitutional.