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Online Cyber Bullying : A real and serious problem

Other | Tuesday 6th August 2013 | Keshav

Online Cyber Bullying has become a big problem for young people. 

This morning the tragic news broke that 14 year old Hannah Smith was the victim of vile online bullying which lead to her committing suicide. The case is another clear indication that cyber bullying is a real and serious problem.  Facts have started to emerge about the state of the problem. It is reported that nearly 43% of teens have reported being bullied online ( some even reported being targeted a multiple number of times). It is also reported that those who are the victims of cyberbullying are more than 9 times likely to commit suicide.

This is problem is very large and action needs to be taken soon.

It is firstly important to understand what cyberbullying is. The website www.stopcyberbullying.org describes it as :

‘"Cyberbullying" is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones’

They go on to say :‘Children have killed each other and committed suicide after having been involved in a cyberbullying incident. Cyberbullying is usually not a one-time communication, unless it involves a death threat or a credible threat of serious bodily harm. Kids usually know it when they see it.

Cyberbullying is not just a UK based problem. Worldwide the number of cases have been on the rise since the introduction of new websites such as ask.fm. Just a quick browse on the website shows me that most of users are young teens.  In 2011 the BBC met Canney Boner a 14 year old who was so badly bullied that he started to slit his wrists. The teenager describes his ordeal

‘"At first I thought it was a joke," he said. "As a teenager you just shrug it off your shoulders and carry on.It started eating into my self-confidence, it all started going downhill.

When he revieved the message (stating go kill yourself) he says ‘I started to cut my wrists. It got to the point where it was from my wrists up to most of my arm’

He explained how he was so scared to tell anyone because of the fear that was taking over him. Boner recovered thankfully through the help of a school council guidance officer. He now works as a mentor for the company ‘Beatbullying’ as well as helping other people who have been affected by the issue. The campaign helps support victims as well as tries to target the perpetrators.

More and more is trying to be done to push the government to take some serious action over this issue. Additional support is one thing the government could provide, they could also take a tougher stance on internet trolls and get websites to enforce harsh sanctions. However there is also a lot we as individuals can do to tackle this problem:

1)      Check the website www.cyberlawenforcement.org  for more information on what is legal / not

2)      If you notice a child who is the victim of bullying then notify authorities straight away

3)      Parents should familiarise themselves with help guidelines such as ‘Goldilocks and cyberbullies ..not too hot not too cold’

4)       Make sure you are aware what your child is doing on the internet

It’s clear that this is a current problem and if left to get out of hand it can lead to horrific incidents. The government has to do more and we have to beat these trolls because year upon year the number of cases are rising at an alarming rates. 

Check out this website for more information and this website for more on Cyber bullying

Keshav Kapoor 

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