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A 'Tech'nical Problem

Have you previously been informed of Amanda Todd? She was a young student who committed suicide, which happens everyday on a worldwide basis. Amanda was cyber bullied to death. Before we continue, let's take a dip into the past and learn the story of this teenager. Why is Amanda Todd so famous for her death? One week before she killed herself, she made a YouTube video about how she was wrongly bullied through the Internet. Basically, she was video chatting and she flashed the camera on a dare. A man that was watching froze the screen and took a picture of her. From there, he posted the picture online to embarrass her. She was so startled and was full of regret that she found the only way to end her depression was to kill herself. This is the issue of cyber bullying. Some people ask “why do people cyber bully?” Honestly, there are several reasons why. Perhaps they are "motivated by anger, revenge, or frustration. Sometimes they do it for entertainment or because they are bored and have too many 'tech toys' available to them. Many do it for laughs or to get a reaction (they could be trolling). And some think they are righting wrong and standing up for others." However, no matter what their reason is, I don't believe that bullying through technology should be tolerated because of the large, everyday impact on society it carries. Also, cyber bullying should be taken more seriously to the point of severe punishment so that certain problems don't occur in people's lives.

"As the Internet and online social networks continue to grow, so does the phenomenon known as cyber bullying. Cyber bullying is when a child or teenager is harassed, threatened or tormented using digital technology.” Some people believe that there is no connection between the two (cyber bullying and suicide). However, Catharine M. Young (57th Senate District) says otherwise. "Indeed, some recent studies suggest that there is a strong correlation between bullying and teen suicide. A series of bullying-related suicides, including many we have recently heard or read about, have drawn much attention to the connection between bullying and suicide." One example of a study was taken at Yale University by students. Their findings were that victims of bullying are (on average) about five times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims. Also, another study took place in Great Britain where they found that at least half of suicides among the youth have a relation to bullying. With "more than 30,000 suicide deaths in the United States and nearly 1 million suicide deaths worldwide occur every year" we can assume that "the role that the Internet, particularly social media, might have in suicide-related behavior is a topic of growing interest and debate." Now is where you are probably wondering if I’ll explain why people bully online.

For the most part, cyber bullying is committed mostly by youth and the causes for their actions vary. However, the most common are motivated by frustration with another peer. This anger and 'need' for revenge causes them to say stuff to others that’s stunningly hurtful & degrading. Though, no matter how much they regret these actions, they cannot take them away after they are on the Internet. Even if the bullies delete their posts, the message they sent will still be out there, drilled in the minds of the persons who had previously seen it. There's a variety of consequences that stem from such actions. The victims could seek to take physical revenge on the person by verbally harassing them, or choose to continue replying to the abuser online. When children go out and try to act tough to feel better about themselves, they take a chance to abuse others and make their lives difficult. An example of someone not realizing they are bullying back happened a few days ago on Google Plus. There was a debate between a girl and a boy on whether suicide was a real feeling or not. This was one of those debates that got out of hand. Basically, the boy was 'trolling', or acting as "one who, for the purpose of getting a reaction in a public web forum, pretends to be of the opinion that they argue against, but argues in a way so over the top or completely missing the point...", and the girl didn’t know this was occurring, so she replied in outrage at the boy. They continued replying to one another and after the girl chose to be the bigger person and leave the conversation, the post was immediately erased. However, one person who read this got the wrong idea and thought that he truly didn't care about people with suicidal thoughts. Therefore, she considered committing suicide. This issue is important to the topic of cyber bullying because it shows that if you begin a post or message with something that will upset others, it’s effect still lingers in them after it’s erased. The girl didn't realize she was bullying back, but she was, even if it was unintentional. And the girl who was affected by it? She's one of the lucky ones who is okay now and is seeking support. Amanda Todd, however was not as lucky. She didn't realize that suicide was a permanent “solution” when she was only involved in a temporary problem. Looking back on these two stories and seeing that both of them were caused by technology makes people question if there should be restrictions on technology for youth or if there should be a greater punishment to those who are involved in it. In the end, however, it all depends on the governments' position on the topic and whether or not they care enough about those who are effected by bullies through cyber-space. Despite my thoughts, some people think that this punishment will be too much and possibly useless.

A young man named Jonah thinks that the issue of cyber bullying is not something people should be making such a big deal about. He says that "Bullying is as old as time itself. People have been bullied forever, and people have been trying to stop bullying forever. Bullying will not stop, and just because it has gone to the Internet does not mean that it will be stopped. People just need to grow thick skin. That is the solution to bullying." Now, Jonah does have a point. Bullying has been around practically forever. Its been around so long, there’s no feasible way to fully stopping bullying. However, I never said that by restricting technology on youth and/or adding a large punishment to those who bully online would stop all bullying worldwide, did I? My thoughts are to prevent it even more than it has been prevented. Instead of giving youth the choice of attending bullying and cyber bullying prevention classes and assemblies at school, they should be forced to. Schools are a place where we learn. If we, as students, are expected to avert our attention from making people feel bad about themselves, don't you think we should be required to attend some sort of informative session from even a young age in attempt to stop bullying as a whole? Or at the very least cut it down so the number of suicides and such across the globe lower? It wouldn't be that hard, but it would take participation. If we are willing to work for something worth being worked for, then it’d make the world a better, more peaceful place to live on.


Ultimately, cyber bullying’s an issue that’s more serious than it seems at first. Not only does it negatively affect youth around the globe, but it also causes death as well. A lot of the time, young people unintentionally bully while attempting to stand up for themselves on an issue over the Internet. This breaks out into fights, which can have disastrous consequences for both the participants & the observers. Some even kill themselves because of the influence cyber bullying has on them. Will you be the next to bully? Will you be the next victim? It all has to do with how mature you are and how well you prevent bullying. Therefore, watch what you say. You don't want to cause others to fight back and cause problems or even end their lives because of you, do you? I wouldn't.




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