From The Schoolyard To The Internet The Phenomenon Of Online Bullying

From The Schoolyard To The Internet The Phenomenon Of Online Bullying



The tragic death of​ thirteen year old Megan Meier has caught the​ attention of​ millions of​ parents, educators, medical professionals, and​ child advocates worldwide. She had committed suicide the​ day after Josh, a​ boy she met and​ became friends with on​ the​ popular social networking website MySpace, abruptly ended the​ relationship and​ began sending her nasty messages online. the​ incident was brought to​ international attention after it​ was discovered that the​ identity of​ Josh was apparently the​ creation of​ a​ family, primarily the​ mother, who lived in​ Megan's neighborhood who wanted to​ know what the​ girl was saying about their daughter online. the​ two girls had previously been friends but had a​ falling out recently.

This case has brought to​ light a​ growing threat to​ many children and​ adolescents---the phenomenon of​ online bullying. Online bullying, also referred to​ as​ electronic bullying or​ cyber-bullying, can be defined as​ the​ repetitive and​ willful harassment through the​ use of​ the​ Internet, mobile phones or​ other forms of​ interactive and/or digital communication, usually with the​ intent to​ humiliate, torment and​ threaten an​ individual in​ order to​ assert the​ perpetrator's power over the​ victim. it​ is​ speculated that about one in​ ten children have experienced some form of​ bullying, but others insist that the​ numbers of​ victims are higher.

According to​ a​ 2018 study, cyber-bullying can take different forms, such as​ sending mean, vulgar, or​ threatening messages or​ images; posting sensitive, private information about another person; pretending to​ be someone else in​ order to​ make that person look bad; and/or intentionally excluding someone from an​ online group. This is​ usually done through e-mails, instant messaging IM, text or​ digital imaging messages sent on​ cell phones, web pages, web logs blogs, chat rooms or​ discussion groups, and​ other information communication technologies. This kind of​ bullying is​ often limited to​ children, pre-teens and​ teenagers.

Traditional bullying is​ distressing enough; however, cyber-bullying is​ even more terrifying because the​ harassment can occur continuously at​ any time of​ the​ day or​ night, with the​ messages and​ images distributed quickly to​ a​ very wide audience. With the​ advent of​ camera phones, perpetrators can take pictures of​ their intended victim in​ compromising and​ potentially humiliating situations and​ post it​ on​ the​ Internet. Examples of​ these can be seen in​ websites such as​ YouTube which allows members to​ post pictures and​ videos online and​ subsequently viewed and​ downloaded worldwide. it​ may also be circulated through e-mails in​ the​ form of​ attachments. This increases the​ humiliation felt by the​ victim, often heightening the​ stress and​ anxiety they feel. for​ Megan Meier, the​ bullying aggravated her condition; she had been diagnosed with depression and​ attention deficit disorder. the​ girl was extremely vulnerable and​ this was what ultimately drove her to​ kill herself.

Online bullying can be classified as​ a​ computer crime punishable by law; however, prosecuting the​ perpetrators of​ this crime is​ limited by the​ laws that are in​ place in​ the​ state or​ country where it​ happened, mostly because computer crimes are very much a​ new thing. and​ as​ with any crime, in​ order to​ prosecute one must have sufficient evidence. Unfortunately, unlike traditional bullying, cyber-bullying is​ difficult if​ not impossible to​ trace. This is​ because the​ youthful perpetrator can remain anonymous online, supply false identifying information or​ constantly change online personas.

This is​ exactly what happened in​ Megan's case. the​ account was created and​ maintained in​ order to​ gain Megan's trust, and​ while her parents acknowledge that no one could have predicted that the​ eventual outcome of​ the​ scheme, they feel that the​ offending family should be held accountable for​ what they did. Tina Meier, the​ victim's mother, said law enforcement officials told her the​ case did not fit into any law, but sheriff's officials have not closed the​ case and​ pledged to​ consider new evidence if​ it​ emerges.

The Meier family had been storing a​ foosball table for​ the​ family that created the​ Josh persona online. When Megan's parents found out that it​ was that family that had driven their daughter to​ suicide, they destroyed the​ table and​ dumped the​ remains on​ their neighbor's driveway. This is​ perhaps the​ only payback that they'll get for​ losing their beloved daughter, however paltry it​ may be. But Megan's tragic death may not be in​ vain; lawmakers in​ her community have proposed a​ new ordinance related to​ child endangerment and​ Internet harassment. While it​ comes too late to​ save Megan's life, it​ may save other children and​ give them some way of​ getting back at​ their oppressors.




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