Cyber bullying

| 29/04/2008

By Felicia Rankin (Year 11 JGHS)

George Town (CNS): Everyone imagines their home as
the safe place they run to at the end of the day. But things have
changed. Harassment has been taken to a whole new level. Today’s
technology has turned your very computer into an enemy to be wary of.
Cyber Bullying is a new threat on the scene.

Teens have always bullied or been bullied at school, but now teens are
being bullied at home through their computer. This type of bullying
has been increasing in the US, UK and also, shockingly, on our island.
And sadly it’s becoming more common.

Teens are using popular websites such as Myspace and Facebook to bully
other children. They have done this bullying in all kinds of forms,
such as blogs,inappropriate images, messages containing profanity,
threats and even websites solely to embarrass the victims, which are
all done with the same intention to humiliate and exploit other teens.

But luckily the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) and Family
Support Unit (FSU) are taking this issue seriously and are determined
to stop this problem in its tracks. This is a problem that, when not
dealt with, can go out of control. For example, a 13-year-old girl
from Missouri committed suicide in 2007 after she experienced harsh
cyber bullying. So this demands serious attention. It is not something
you merely glance at and turn your back on.

“We’re using the media to get through to parents to educate them. We
were hoping to speak to students, but being the end of the school year
we won’t be able to do so now. So hopefully next school year we can
speak to students for them to become aware of what is happening. We
will be appearing on Youth Flex Radio on the 25th of June to broadcast
this problem,” said Sergeant Doris Morris.

It is true that the majority of teens today are a lot more computer
savvy than their parents may be. So it is advised that parents become
more involved and try to gain more knowledge on computers and ask kids
to show them the websites they access on a regular basis to show what
they do and how they are used. When asked what parents should do about
the issue, Morris replied, “Parents should monitor kids on their
computer, give specific times as to how much time they spend on it and
even purchase security software.”

Anyone who is still not fully aware of the seriousness of this problem
should also know that it is punishable by law. So this type of
harassment won’t be ignored. It is punishable under the ICT
(Information Communication Technology) Law, which is for when devices
are misused.

“Once you have experienced some form of cyber bullying, be sure to
save whatever you have received. Then you report it to the police and
then they will begin to investigate into the issue,” said Morris.

But the reason why many of these cases are unheard of is because most
families don’t want to go through all the trouble and negative
attention that it could bring to them, and because most families
understandably want to keep their personal matters private.

So, as a community we should come together and stop cyber bullying
before it can get any worse.




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