Stricter Laws are Needed for Online Harassment and Bullying

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Online harassment and bullying are at an all-time high with devastating results. More and more people are being victimized by online bullies without fear of punishment because bullies don’t fear punishment and are protected under the First Amendment of the constitution. For the victims being bullied and harassed there should be justice. People are bullied and harassed for many reasons. It could be for the way they look, what religion they may be or what sexual preference they may have. There are no federal laws to protect victims from cyberbullying or harassment only for online stalking. There are only individual state laws for online bullying and harassment at this time. Criminal intent has to be proven in some cases to prosecute. Sometimes that is harder to prove when the internet is the tool being used because things can be deleted.

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What is cyberbullying? Cyberbullying is any kind of harassment toward a person using the internet. (Patchin and Hinduja). Cyberbullying affects our children more than any other group of people. Statics show six percent of middle school and high school students have encountered cyberbullying. (Bradshaw, C.P., Sawyer, A.L., & O’Brennan, L.M.) Sixteen percent of high school age children have been bullied just this past year. (National Center for Education Statistics).According to Charisse l Nixon, with The Nat’l Crime Prevention Council ‘Being bullied is also associated with not doing well in school, self-esteem issues, not being able to make friends, feeling of loneliness and higher use of drugs and alcohol .’ Cyberbullying victims are more likely to commit suicide. (Jennifer Sinco Kelleher).

Here is an example. A young teenager from Ohio committed suicide after being bullied ( Ablin Kelly A,). More and more children turn to suicide as a result of being bullied. Richard Wolf, with the USA TODAY, reported that “social media sites can monitor their own sites to control what people post but under the First Amendment, the government has no authority.” Bullies feel they have the right under the First Amendment of the constitution to say whatever they want and not be punished. Yes, the First Amendment does state we have the freedom of speech. Also, there are times that people are accused of cyberbullying and harassment and are not in violation of the First Amendment. There has to be a line for when it goes too far and not covered under the law. When words and action are used to demean and torment another individual something has to be done. If someone feels they are being harassed and bullied they should report it to authorities to be investigated. But unfortunately, the majority of the victims won’t tell. Also with the use of the internet post and pictures can be deleted, so there is no evidence. Even In the school and workplaces, there are policies against bullying but a lot of the time they dismiss claims. So in a since bullies are right to believe they can do and say what they want and not be punished for it.

As human beings, we are supposed to respect one another and not do any intentional harm to each other. But in today’s society that is not always the case. For the victims being bullied and harassed, there should be justice. Just because it is not always seen by people doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Victims of cyberbullying and harassment need a voice. Although there are many great organizations out there advocating for the victims we need more. More and more children turn to suicide as a result of being bullied. Many children fear they cannot go to anyone for help. Children are being terrorized by their peers and the people they are supposed to turn to have no clue. Children don’t tell because they fear what will happen to them if they do. That’s why they decide to take their own lives. Cyberbullying can be so harmful to an individual. Depending on the mental state of that individual they may not be able to cope with harsh words spoken to them and they should not have to. A victim that cannot handle the abuse usually becomes withdrawn and unsocial. Sometimes victims turn to drugs or alcohol to cope.

If the individual doesn’t get the help they will likely become an addict. And chances of overdose are extremely high. Some victims try to commit suicide to escape the torment and most unfortunately succeed. It is everywhere in America and it is unfortunate that more is not done to punish the perpetrators. Individuals need safe places to turn to and know that they will be heard and action taken. More people would stand up and tell if they knew the bully would be punished. Bullying and harassment should not be allowed to happen on the internet or face to face. The federal government needs to make new laws against perpetrators and not leave it up to the individual states. Even though most of the school systems and workplace have policies in place for bullying it is not working. Something needs to be done to protect families from losing loved ones due to this senseless act. If more laws were in place on all levels of government and people knew they would defiantly be punished, maybe the bullying and harassment would cease. How many more family has to lose loved ones to drugs or suicide before anything is done to protect them and punish the one causing it. Bullying that causes someone to take their own lives should be punished. Even though they are not the ones who actually killed them, they are ones who drove them to do it. We have laws that protect someone from being harassed for being a different race, religion and even sexual orientation but not cyberbullying causing someone to think they have no option but to take their own lives.

In order to help individuals fight against online bullying and harassment, there needs to better laws to punish the ones doing the bullying. So they will start to fear punishment and stop bullying people. Online harassment will only continue and possibly get worse if nothing is done to stop it. There are a lot of wonderful organizations out there to help the prevention of bullying. Organizations like Stopbullying.gov and Pacer.org are two of the prevention sites that are good for people to visit. But for the ones already being bullied and harassed prevention is too late. Individuals need people to stand up and fight for them especially for the children. Federal laws need to be formed and put into action. The local and state government laws are not effective enough to keep bullies at bay. If anything they are too relaxed. Unless the harassment involves race, sexual orientation, or religion (which are civil right laws) then nothing is done about the cyberbullying. This should not be the case. It should not matter what the reasoning is behind the bullying. There is no good reason for someone to be teased, tormented or degraded as human beings. People that live in America should not have to be subject to such cruelty. There are laws for physical abuse but none for the abuse done on the internet.

One should not be more important than the other. Bullying is bullying regardless of its one on social media or not. Therefore our federal government should address this. If new laws are not made and implemented, families will continue to lose loved ones to suicide or to addiction. In addition to new laws, there is also a need for help centers for victims. Victims need safe places to turn to that have the ability to help them. Places that utilize police departments and government organizations to bring down online bullies. Social media can be a wonderful thing. But when it is used to do harm to someone it can be devastating. If peoples start working together to put laws into place to the bullies and make them fear punishment then maybe there will not be so much cyberbullying. School districts should also be held accountable in stopping the bullying. There are some policies in place at many schools already but not all. Children should be able to tell a teacher or school employee if they are receiving any form of online harassment and at the least have it investigated. Investigations should be a mandatory process within our school systems. Schools have access to the students’ chrome books that they issue to them and should be able to monitor what the students are actively doing via the internet while at school. Making individuals safe should be the priory of our government. It seems like laws concerning social media has fallen through the cracks and not looked at hard enough. The fact of the matter boils down to that Bullies do not fear any punishment or reductions for the harm they inflict. They feel they have rights under the First Amendment to say and post anything they wish and it will be protected as free speech.

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Stricter Laws Are Needed For Online Harassment and Bullying. (2022, Feb 08). Retrieved August 17, 2022 , from
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