With recent statistics showing that one out of three teenagers has access to mobile phones and the Internet, the facts are in black and white and cannot be denied. Currently, cyberbullying and internet harassment are two of the biggest threats that children are facing, and the worst part is that no proper laws against cyberbullying have been legislated throughout the world. Take the case of the United States of America, only 9 out of the possible 50 states have offered some kind of legislation to this problem. Learn about Curbing Internet Harassment with Laws against Cyberbullying.
In addition to the real problem, according to Cyber Research Center, one out of ten victims reports this form of Internet Harassment of an adult. Cyberbullying for sure has made quite a number of teenagers feel excluded and ostracized. Girls are more vulnerable than boys; the number of girl victims is nearly twice that of boys. The rise in teenage suicide has actually been linked to cyberbullying.
Forms of Cyberbullying and Internet Harassment
Quite a number of cyberbullying take place in forums and chat rooms on the Internet that have been designed to attract teenagers. Additionally, these are the same places that online sex predators hang out in search of their victims.
- Harassment; sending nasty and insulting messages to someone repeatedly
- Insulting; spreading false information that will cause harm to the person
- Excluding; forcing someone to exclude another person from a community
- Identity theft; is common in cyberbullying; the bully pretends to be you and says things that are not true about you
- Uploading images; sharing someone’s photos, especially when they are in an embarrassing situation without his or her knowledge.
What Laws against Internet Harassment Say
When it comes to cyberbullying, the problem can be addressed under criminal or civil law based largely on the situation. Ideally, the bully can be engaged in some sort of defamation. This is when they cause harm to your reputation by spreading false information about you. Many countries have tried their best and legislated very strict laws on cyberbullying. However, these laws are not etched on stones, and it will still become extremely difficult to catch and prosecute the culprits. However, the following are ways that teenagers can use to curb this vice easily and effectively.
- Ignore postings or any private emails that look suspicious
- Ignore those that flatter or praise, and any sympathetic response you get when you are on the Internet
- Utilize privacy settings on social networking sites. This will enable you to block any unwanted user from contacting you
- Do not at any time feel frightened and fail to report them
- If you feel scared, you can easily make the cyber bully feel he or she is in control. To beat them at their own game, let them know that their behaviour will not be tolerated. Let them know you are ready to take action by reporting them to the relevant authority. Additionally, ensure you have a log copy of any sort of communication that you receive from the cyberbully.
- Do not trust any message that you receive unless you verify with a reliable source.
As parents, you have to be extremely proactive. You do not have to wait any longer for proper legislation to be put in place. Demand stricter controls from networking sites; social sites have to take full responsibility for the new platform that they have created. Parents really have to speak about this.
In 2011 alone, a million teenagers were harassed on the Internet. The worst part is that only an insignificant number reported the ordeal. Parents really have to let their children know that they are free to come to them any minute; that minute when they receive some kind of harassment on the Internet. Let your kid know that you will do everything possible to bring the bully to justice. Overall, parents have to tell their children that being a victim of cyberbullying is not something that they should feel embarrassed about.
Cyberbullies are everywhere; they do not just stay in the dark. It is because of this very reason that it will be extremely difficult to avoid them, more so when you are online. Sharing a room or class with them can also worsen the situation. All in all, numbers have a lot of weight and strength. Do not hesitate. Ask for help and get those people who are close to you if a need arises. Normally, a cyber bully has very little ammunition against you. They only achieve their goal by getting you to engage. Until laws against cyberbullying are enacted across the world, parents actually have to be protective barriers between their children and the cyber bullies.
Laws against cyberbullying and laws for cyberbullying are just a need that has to be met by legislators in your community today. Get up and demand harsher laws for cyberbullying.