The main problem with cyber bullying besides the person being attacked, is the fact that most people do not see it as an issue. People constantly say “Why don’t you just close your computer?” “How about you just don’t go online?”, but people don’t understand that won’t fix the problem. Cyber bullying isn’t only just emailing or messaging people online saying mean things, it can also be, making fake accounts under the person’s name, making groups titled “ I hate ___” , posting embarrassing photos and videos. These are all things that cannot be avoided by turning off your computer. The people who think that, have quite a bit of learning to do, about how fast things are able to spread over social media.
Jessica Logan, an 18 year old girl who attended Sycamore high school was cyber bullied, when her ex-boyfriend sent nude photos of her around the school. More than 100 teens have seen her nudes in over 7 Cincinnati High Schools. Jessica continues to be cyber bullied over Myspace, Facebook, and text messages. Jessica then made the irreversible choice to end her life in 2010. Jessica’s parents filed a lawsuit against Sycamore High School and the Montgomery Police for not intervening with the harassment she was constantly receiving over the widely shared photo. This devastating outcome could not have been changed by turning off your computer and walking away, as some of the less informed people misunderstand.
This incident is what made the Ohio Governor John Kasich sign the House bill 116 (The Jessica Logan Act) into action. This law says that the Legislation shall address anti harassment policies and cyber bullying. The laws for cyber bullying is up to each state to decide. Oregon has luckily decided to make laws against cyber bullying, to help prevent early deaths. Oregon has listed 10 groups under the anti bullying law including: race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, National origin, marital status, familial status, source of income, and disability. Public schools, or schools that retrieve federal money, have to address discrimination on characteristics by federal law. Additionally, it is rumored that cyber bullying is going to be a civil rights violation.
Cyber bullying is very serious, especially when it influences mental health. Though because of how downplayed this new form of bullying is, the harder it is to spread awareness. According to Dr. Dieter Wolke,“Adolescents who are bullied by their peers actually suffer from worse long-term mental health effects than children who are maltreated by adults, based on a study published last week in The Lancet Psychiatry.” The findings were a surprise to Dr. Dieter Wolke, because negative relationships with peers can effect children severely an can have a long lasting impact. They also found that “children maltreated by adults were more likely to be bullied.” (Dr. Dieter Wolke) These kids are also more exposed to anxiety, depression, and self harm, drug and alcohol abuse, lack of interest in hobbies, increased anger, low self esteem, and suicidal thoughts. A quote from Dr. Dieter who is performing all of these tests said “Bullying is comparable to a scenario for a caged animal, the classroom is a place where you’re with people you didn’t choose to be with, and you can’t escape them if something negative happens.” People need to understand that the school and school system become a part of the problem when the person being bullied becomes uncomfortable going to school, one cannot escape the torment.
So now when one goes onto Facebook, be more mindful about what is okay and not okay to post. Think about the power one holds when they type information on social media cites. Remember that what one posts can affect someone else negatively if not careful.