As they say, “Snitches get stitches.” This old saw, however, is getting looked at with a more discerning eye in the light of online cyberbullying and stalking. Just as the traditional bully hides behind bravado and relies on their victim’s fear, so too does the online bully hide behind the anonymity afforded by the internet and the fear and shame engendered by their actions. As such, the ability of cyber snitching opens up an entirely new front in the war on cyberbullying. Learn about the Cyber Snitching!
It’s known as “The Age of Little Brother.” Normally associated with the actions of bystanders, any cyber snitch will frequently find themselves positioned to track nefarious deeds electronically. Perhaps most famously, the case of police beating victim Rodney King established the efficacy of using electronic means to right injustice, or as the recent Boston Marathon bombing episode illustrated, to capture evil doers. Cyber snitching can now be used proactively to identify, stop, and punish those who would otherwise remain inviolate for their actions.
Perhaps the hardest factor to deal with when one is being harassed online is the sense of isolation and loneliness. The target of that online wrath finds themselves without outlets for a suitable response, which is assuaged by the presence of online tools designed to cast a bright light on the dark happenings of cyber bullies. The ability to reach out and fight back is now afforded via numerous websites that are dedicated to reporting unsocial and harassing online behaviour.
As with any crime that seeks to establish dominance over a person and ensure their silence through social shame, victims of cyber abuse have suffered in silence. Tragically, all too often that silence becomes permanent when the victim chooses suicide as their only viable course of action in the face of unremitting harassment.
Cyber snitching offers an opportunity to stop this destructive pattern and put the onus of this action on those most deserving…the perpetrators. Anonymous reporting on cyber snitching websites can lead to actions designed to thwart continued problems. Silence is the natural ally of the bully and lifting the veil that shields such actions is paramount for the community to move past this devastating practice.
Overburdened school faculty, distracted parents, and uncaring peers will often ignore the signs of cyberbullying despite the growing awareness of the dangers presented by the practice. Cyber snitching websites offer a valuable outlet for the resounding cries of help to be heard and acted upon. Whether people are reporting dangerous driving on the freeway, suspicious activity in alleys, or the hostile behaviour of online predators, cyber snitching has become a daily reality for many. Efforts to extend this protective umbrella over society’s weakest members, her children, are designed to stop further tragedies before they cascade out of control.
In practice, cyber snitching has played a role in several recent high profile cases that served to document illegal actions in which victims were sexually assaulted as their ordeal was captured on cell phones by bystanders who posted images on social media outlets. These images were subsequently used as evidence in criminal actions against the defendants. This medium has played a big role in the prosecution of two high school football stars in Steubenville, Ohio and other areas for the sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl who had passed out at a party after drinking too much alcohol.
New methods of defence need to be developed to contend with new methods of harassment. Utilizing the medium of choice for the online bully, victims can also reach out electronically to report those transgressions and get help before the situation escalates into tragedy. New laws, heightened awareness, proactive action, and prompt responses to perceived dangers are instrumental in turning back the tide of unrelenting online bullying and harassment.
The playing field has moved from the schoolyard to the chat room when it comes to available venues for harassment, and the ability to report those transgressions gives victims a sense of empowerment in the face of demoralizing, anonymous online attacks. With the rise in cyberbullying, every conceivable tool needs to be put into service to help those under duress, and cyber snitching is the tool that is increasingly being reached for to get the job done.