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The Online Issue: Cyber bullying

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According to the Cyberbullying Research Center of the United States, cyber bullying is defined as “when someone repeatedly harasses, mistreats, or makes fun of another person online.” Cyber bullying is a much bigger issue than it is made out to be. Four out of ten teens admit to having been cyber bullied during their lifetime. In some cases, this cyber bullying leads to one making a drastic decision, such as ending their own life. The question then is; what can schools, adults, and websites do in order to deter the issue of cyber bullying?

According to Reuters, popular websites, such as Google and Facebook, are told that they must do something about the cyber bullying that occurs on their pages. Matt Sucherman of Google states that he is deeply troubled by this. He declares that controlling what others write “attacks the very principles of freedom on which the internet is built.” The Cyberbullying Research Center recently stated that Facebook has been asked to add a “panic button” on the website in order to ensure child safety. This “panic button” would appear on every page of Facebook and children would simply click it if they felt uncomfortable or were being bullied. However, Facebook objects to installing a “panic button.” Facebook’s Debbie Frost says that it is “highly self-regulating and users can and do report content that they find questionable or offensive.” But this is not enough. Karen North, who directs Annenberg programs on online communities at the University of Southern California, thinks that anyone who posts anything online must take responsibility for themselves and their actions.
“We’ve created an Internet culture where people are invited to put up content, but the responsibility falls in both directions. On the internet, we all share the responsibility to monitor the content that we find and for our societal standards to be maintained.”

People in the United States, and around the world in general do not realize what a problem cyber bullying is. According to research done by the PureSight Online Child Safety Center, 8% of teens involved in cyber bullying have considered ending their own lives. Seventeen year old Alexis Pilkington from Long Island, New York was cyber bullied so harshly that she did, in fact, take her own life. Pilkington was brutally cyber bullied on the new formspring.me website, as well as Facebook and via text messages. The cyber bullying continued even after she committed suicide. On her memorial page, negative messages have been posted by those who bullied her. According to the Huffington Post, Michael Stracuzza, the father of one of Pilkington’s friends, is sending prosecutors to the memorial page and is giving them information about the situation. He is hoping that legal action will be taken.
“It's the effect the posts have on those who are mourning that poor girl’s death. This is what needs to be addressed. Children want to mourn their friend, and there are posts of photos with nooses around her neck. It’s disgusting and heartless,” said Stracuzza.

McClure Middle School in Seattle, Washington finally decided to take a stand against cyber bullies. According to the Seattle King 5 News, dozens of students were suspended when school officials discovered a Facebook page targeting one student. The school responded quickly, suspending any student that had “become a fan” of that page. The time limit of the suspensions ranged on how involved the student was with the Facebook page.
Brook George is a parent of two children at McClure. Although her children did not participate in this, she is impressed that the school is taking a stand.
“I would definitely want something done. Even if my child joined something like that, I'd want something done to them to teach them this is not what you do to people.”




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saffy said...
Aug. 25, 2011 at 9:19 am:
wow thats real messsed up and then after the facted that she died they still continued
 
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