The majority of Americans have a computer in their home or have easy access to one. This may seem like a giant step forward to a more environmental and technological age, but every good thing has its downs. One of these downsides is ‘cyber bullying’. The term ‘cyber bullying’ refers to putting fear into another person by use of cell phone, internet, or any other technology. (Hinduja, web)
To understand why this is such a major problem, first we must understand who the victims have a tendency to be. According to ABC News the most targeted people have to deal with social differences, extreme deprivation, child neglect, racism, and abandonment. (Anthony, web) 80% of internet use occurs in the United States. (Angelis 19) Cyber-crime expert Larry Smith said as follows, “The internet is not violence, but greed, pride, and character weakness.”
With the increase of people using social media sites certain laws have gone into effect in many states to deal with such atrocities. 48 of the 50 states have passed bullying laws; the states that have yet to pass these laws are Montana and South Dakota. 14 of the states have cyber bullying included in the laws and 38 states have electronic harassment included. (Hinduja, web)
The law in Vermont was passed as a tribute to Ryan Patrick Halligan, a 13-year old junior high student who committed suicide after being ridiculed by fellow classmates online. (James 41) “A few days after his funeral I logged on to his AOL IM account because that was the one place he spent most of his time during the last few months. I logged on to see if there were any clues to his final action. It was in that safe world of being somewhat anonymous that several of his classmates told me of the bullying and cyber bullying that took place during the months that led up to his suicide. The boy that had bullied him since 5th grade and briefly befriended Ryan after the brawl was the main culprit. My son the comedian told his new friend something embarrassing and funny that happened once and the friend (bully) ran with the new information that Ryan had something done to him and therefore Ryan must be gay. The rumor and taunting continued beyond that school day … well into the night and during the summer of 2003.” (Halligan, web) What his parents did not know was the bullying continued online where everyone could see and participate in. The young teenagers were not punished with their crime, because there weren’t any laws in place that could deal with such an outrage. That’s why I suggest that laws should be passed at a federal standing, so we as a country do not have to witness such a horrible onslaught brought on by young naïve kids/teenagers.