A Solution to Cyberbullying?
by catherinefournier on February 18, 2014 - 10:22pm
Cyberbullying is fairly common among the younger communities and people have a hard time deciding how to deal with it. Some believe that stricter laws are not the solution to this worldwide problem as discussed in the article from the Gazette of Montreal “Tougher laws not the answer to cyberbullying, conference told”, which links to a possible solution found in Washington for stopping cyberbullying explained in the article “Can this smartphone app stop cyberbullying?” from the New Republic.
The first article from Montreal brings an interesting point on the possible solution to stop cyberbullying. A conference at McGill University came to the conclusion that tougher laws are not the answer to this problem. They believe that a “nuanced approach”, described as the use of softer sanctions paired with educational resources, is the best way. Teenager nowadays do not communicate the same way than the generation before, which is why we need to adjust our method of confronting this issue. The senator Mobina Jaffer on the committee of Human Rights mentioned that “we give children these powerful communication tools, but no instruction to go with them”, which is exactly what parents need to understand: the communication tools have changed. Finally, the adults’ perception on this problem is not the best because they need to understand the teenagers’ point of view on the subject in order to not just apply consequences here and there.
The second article “Can this smartphone app stop cyberbullying?” discusses a possible solution to try to prevent, reduce and stop cyberbullying from occurring. The solution includes an application for smartphones called “STOPit” on which you can send screenshots of wrong online behaviors to informed, specialized and trusted adults. Of course, this application propose an anonymous posting assurance. The interesting thing about this application is that it targets teenagers directly. The creator of “STOPit”, Todd Schobel, says that since the number one tool for cyberbullying is a smartphone why not “give them that exact smartphone that they’re so comfortable with, and let the kids make the difference”. Some skeptics doubt that the kids will actually use the application, the creator believes that everything relies on the anonymity of it, that it is the one thing that can make this work. Finally, the author, Lane Florsheim, mentions an important asset of this application: “fighting technology with technology could prove to be the best way to deter this pervasive, destructive behavior”.
These articles from two different country show how cyberbullying is everywhere. I believe that they are closely related since one affirms that stricter laws are not the solution and the other clearly embrace that as well since they found a solution that does not involve tougher laws anywhere. Also, the article from the Gazette brings up the importance of understand the teenagers and their communication tools, which is clearly what Todd Schobel tried to do with the application “STOPit” that is available on smartphones, one of the most used communication tool in the younger communities.
In conclusion, cyberbullying is a really huge problem in our society so much that even some academic discipline such as psychology are interested in understanding the problems and the solutions. Psychology is a great academic discipline to understand how the teenagers interact with each other, and not judge what they do but clearly see from their perspective, which can help find solutions to different problems surrounding them. The Journal of Youth Studies published about the rise of cyberbullying in high school and the effects it has, which demonstrates the importance of stopping this disastrous behavior.