Cyber bullying has been an ongoing problem in most schools, especially since social media has become so widely used. As the modern technology advances, so do the methods and avenues of bullying. The bullying has existed since people remember, but it has not been until recently that children cannot escape the bullying even after they get home. Right now, the advancement of new technologies allows bullies to torture students beyond the classroom. They use the social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the messaging option on every cell phone.
The distinction between the traditional and cyber bullying is immense, mostly because of the wider choices bullies have to torture students with help of technology. Seeing that every student nowadays owns a phone and is active on the social media, bullying never really stops. This leads to the fact that people feel much more comfortable in offending and attacking people via message, even more than in a face-to-face conversation. Not standing in front of a person and looking into their eyes gives much more room and courage for bullies to torture students. This allows them to be much crueler than the bullies of the past, without facing any consequences that followed face-to-face conversations.
Because of this freedom, we have witnessed many tragic stories of young people who were bullied via the social media. The most heartrending story was that of a freshman at Rutgers University, a student named Tyler Clementi, who committed a suicide because of cyber bullying1. This student took his life because his peers posted a video of his private sexual encounter with another guy on the internet. As soon as the boy saw the images and video put online, he jumped of the George Washington Bridge.
I took this as an example because homosexuals are one of the biggest groups at risk of social bullying and therefore, the most common victims of such torture.
When it comes to preventing bullying there is not much done to prevent this. In such cases, students do not even know who to turn to, since there is no particular person or organization responsible to handle cyber bullying. Hoffman had the same concern - whether the responsibility lies in parents, the school or the police.2
In order to handle such bullying, many have opted for passing legislation against this. For example, the New York State Senate has passed the legislation in 2010, sponsored by the Senator Steve Saland. According to this legislation, the Dignity for All Students Act is expanded in a way that local school districts are asked to develop procedures and policies that will address the issue. "This legislation provides school districts with the tools they need to address bullying and cyber bullying to help ensure that the school environment is safe for all students," - said the Senator. 3
Even though this is not widely implemented, it is a definite step in the direction of solving the issue. In legal terms, the schools start having a jurisdiction to suspend and punish the bullies that use social media or torture other students face-to-face, even when it comes to bullying off school grounds. As soon as this method is applied to all schools worldwide, the school is going to be the place where students go to report bullying.
According to Hoffman (2010), courts are starting to side with the decision of punishing those who use dramatically different ways to demean other students. 'Educators are empowered to maintain safe schools. The timidity of educators in this context of emerging technology is working tithe advantage of bullies´ - said Bernard James, a scholar at the Pepperdine University. (Hoffman, 2010).
As technology advances, so do the methods of cyber bullying. If the process of implementing punishment for people who use the technology to hurt others continues moving this slowly, the risk of having other cases like Tyler will increase as the technological outlets grow in quantity. Overall, there is much more that needs to be done to prevent such things from happening.