October 12, 2010
A 21st Century Epidemic: Cyber Bullying
The Internet has a lot to offer: immediate answers, endless research, and easy communication with people all over the world. These were the intentions of the people who invented this product. America focused on the invention of the Internet and all its glory, but forgot to think about the evil that could come of it. It is generally known that with any great invention there are usually some potential negatives that absolutely must be considered. Cyber bullying is the most important aspect of the Internet that teachers, lawmakers, school administration, parents, and rising adults need to pay more close attention to. With developments like AOL Instant messenger (1997), MySpace (2001), and Facebook (2004), teens everywhere flocked to the idea of having a more private means of communication away from the school grounds and teachers. Above it all, students loved the idea of “not getting caught,” the ability to stay anonymous. (BizTech) For bullies, it was a way to bring that hurt and pain virtually anywhere the victim has access to media (cell phones, computers). Out of 2000 randomly selected middle-schoolers, 20% said they had at one point seriously thought about committing suicide and 19% had actually attempted it. (Cyber bullying Research Center) How many more children will die before the United States realizes that there is so much more they can do to put a damper on this online hate cycle? America needs to take affirmative action in the prevention of cyber bullying and not ignore that fact that is a strong contributor to teenage suicide rates. In Missouri, cyber bully victim Megan Meier hung herself in her bedroom at the young age of thirteen. She had been in an online relationship with who she thought was a sixteen-year-old Josh Evans who had a crush on her. Josh had enticed her into sexual conversation, confusing her when he asked about how he had heard of her rude behavior towards her friends, which she denied. After six weeks, she had hoped he would come to her upcoming birthday party, but instead, she received a final wall post, “I hope you have a shitty life. The world be a better place without you in it” (Sydney Morning Herald).” However, post suicide investigations lead to discover that “Josh Evans” was really Lori Drew, the mother of a girl whom Megan had allegedly had a back and forth friendship with her daughter, Sarah. It is sickening to know that a fully-grown adult whose job it is to raise her daughter and teach her right from wrong did such an awful thing to an undeserving child. Fifteen-year-old Phoebe Prince was another victim of both cyber bullying and bullying on school grounds. In her Massachusetts hometown, she had allegedly had a relationship and sexual relations with a seventeen-year-old jock in addition to another upperclassman. The older girls resented her popularity and good looks and berated her with rude comments. Her daily school encounters were never without a rude comment, like “Irish Slut” or “Whore,” thrown her way. (www.masslive.com) With absolutely no relief given by her school administration, she was not only berated at school, but online too. One day on her way home from school, an alleged bully threw an energy drink at Phoebe. Little did the bullies know that Phoebe would hang herself in herself in her stairwell that same day, only to be found a few hours later by her twelve-year-old sister. Tyler Clemente, A freshman at Rutgers, was secretly videotaped while having two sexual encounters with a male. His roommate, Dharun Ravi, who is responsible for the hidden camera, posted these tapes online over a course of three days. The Internet is viral and permanent, so naturally these videos were accessible my millions in mere seconds. Tyler was not open about his sexuality and had chosen not to share it with his family just yet. Feeling...