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. 

Comments

This post interested because cyber-bullying is indeed everywhere, and no one seems to know how to stop it. I recently watched a documentary titled "Bully," which follows bullying victims and their families. In one scene, a family met with administrators about the issue, and the school replied that since the bullying was not happening on school grounds, they were not able to stop it. In this instance, it was not the families not understanding the technology, it was lack of support that lead to the issues becoming unresolved. In a different scene with a different family, a child had taken his own life as a result and the school made a statement saying that there was no issue, even though they were aware of all the threats made in person and online.
Your post discusses that tougher laws are not the answer to the problems of cyberbullying, and I would agree with you. I would think more about tolerance, however. How much are schools willing to let students get away with? At what point does a school system get involved? Should parents be liable for what their children do and say online? At this point in time there is a belief that if it is no physical violence it is not important, and there needs to be discussion among parents, schools, and even law makers to find the solution that holds all accountable. I would argue that there needs to be accountability in schools for what the school tolerates, accountability for law makers to enforce laws if they have them, accountability for parents and guardians to teach their children what is appropriate, and accountability for children to watch what they post. No app will make people accountable, only people can do that.

I agree Cyberbullying must be stopped and we can help.
My background on cyberbullying, while some people often ignore cyberbullying I despise it. I have seen what it does to students, children, families, and friends. There is no need for it and people only do it because they know it is easy to get away with. Often, if these cyberbullies were caught or had less chance of getting away they would not have done it in the first place. Stricter laws would be very hard to enforce as we would need to take our much needed police off the streets and put them behind computers tracking these bullies constantly. And fighting technology with technology is what I am all about. I did an article about teenage sexting and they even talked about technology and apps that help protect the users. These ideas are wonderful because the free apps can help save lives and much of the added stress with bullying.
In response to the articles I did not take interest in the tougher law one as I agree with the title of it and do not need to read much further. However the application one is brilliant and there are companies making many different apps for abuse, bullying, sexting, etc and this is just brilliant. These are free and they help our society with the problems technology has created. I completely agree with you as cyber bullying is everywhere and must be stopped and this is a great start! In response and with on finally thing, I would like to see some suggestions and statistics on the rates of bullying and how successful these apps become. Great article.

I like that we are thinking more about how to stop bullying. I really like the idea regarding the app to stop bullying, I am just not sure how many people will use it and if it will be effective. I believe that bullying is a huge problem in our world, and I am aware of people who have killed themselves from being bullied. Because of this, I believe that the solution for bullying doesn't lie in technology. I believe that it comes in the form of punishment. Children and teenagers who bully should be immediately set straight. This issue is involving suicide and extreme depression and we should not take it lightly. It makes me cringe to think that we would be passive about bullying. My question to you is, once those screenshots get sent in to the app, what happens? I think that Facebook and social media should have a one-time rule. If someone reports you ONCE for bullying, you shouldn't be allowed to reap the benefits of having one.

When someone's life is on the line, we need to be strict. Because I have heard of people who have died because of this, from my area, I believe that to be light on bullies is obscene. I really like that you are interested in this topic because it is definitely something that needs to be changed. Lets focus less on legalizing marijuana and more on an intense, life-threatening topic like this. All in all, it was a great article. I just think we need to be a lot harsher on bullies.

I really enjoy this post on pointing out how troublesome cyber bullying is and different ways that it could be stopped. Personally, I have never dealt with cyber bullying on certain media’s but I do believe it has become an important issue that must come to a stop. I do think its clever to use social networking like an app to stop bullying, however, I think overall bullying is a difficult issue that hasn't been tackled yet. Not only are people concerned with cyber bullying, but we have bullying among our everyday life. It’s very hard for people to not use harsh words towards others that they are judging, and it’s definitely much easier to bully behind a screen.

I found this post to be very interesting and it had really made me think about how cyberbullying should be dealt with. I agree with Mobina Jaffer on how we give children powerful communication tools with no instructions on how they should be used. Children do not realize just how powerful internet social sites can be until they have been abused and for this reason I also agree with what the McGill University was saying on how education resources should be put into to play. I feel that education is the key and that parents and schools should be teaching young children about how to use communication tools in a positive way. Children need to understand what cyberbullying is and how to go about it if something like this were to occur. They must also understand the consequences of using such technology for the wrong reasons. I also like the idea of the Stop it app and how people would be able to notify someone by using screen shots of wrong behavior so that it can be put to a stop. Although I am not sure how many people would feel comfortable using it but I think it could be used as great education tool to teach kids what is right or wrong behavior.
Your post states how tougher laws are not the answer to this problem and this I am not entirely convinced with.One thing that I would adjust to this statement is that education of communication tools and tougher laws needs to be paired together. Just because we teach kids how to use communication skill doesn’t mean that they will use it the right way and because of that laws need to put into play to deal with those who abuse it. Those who have abused it and cyberbullied other people need to pay the consequences for their actions. Cyberbullying takes a huge toll on people’s emotional and social health to the point that they may consider suicide. I personally think that bullying is considered assault and for those who bullied people so bad that they committed suicide that it considered murder. For these reasons I feel that those who use technology to harm others need to be punished for what they have done.

Cyberbullying is so common nowadays because many teenagers are constantly on their technological advancements, facebook, twitter, emails, and text messaging. You do not know who is behind the screen you are talking to. Many people use fake accounts, pictures, and information to bully people and kidnap people. Cyberbullying is very dangerous and parents should be aware of their children's messaging and activity online for protection and security of their child.

Cyber bullying has become a huge issue everywhere in the world and no one is quite sure how to stop it. This post makes good points on ways the public is trying to stop it, but can it be stopped? We are putting this type of technology to the most immature age range and giving them these freedoms. Did we not think they would abuse them? Stricter laws may be a good start but I don’t think this will fully fix the problem. You can tell a teenager over and over again this is wrong and way to prevent it but they will never stop doing it. The app “STOPit” is an interesting way of trying to prevent cyber bullying. I think this app will help more cyber bullying be pointed out, not stop it from happening. This is a concern from many because it has such an emotional effect on teenagers and those involved in cyber bullying. If there is any way to help this be stopped we should try.

I was drawn to this article because cyber-bullying has become a high profile topic within the media as well as throughout educational institutions. While I was in high school, cyber-bullying cases became so numerous, and of such severity, that a group comprised of faculty and concerned students, including myself, created a 'Keep the Peace' Committee in response. Together we created a peer-counseling service and regular peer discussion groups, we developed and aired public services announcements, and our most significant, lasting contribution was our establishment of an annual 'Peace Day'. During this day, all classes at my alma mater are canceled, and students actively participate in team-building workshops and “cross-the-line” demonstrations, during which they are encouraged to share their personal experiences and develop common ground with their peers. Though cyber-bullying is still prevalent, the programs that we developed have become a benchwork of significance that can be retooled and enhanced as is necessary in our ever-evolving cyber social climate.
While I do believe that there is a need to define cyber-bullying, I don't believe that simply defining the legal and punishable ramifications thereof will alter the current statis quo all that much; technology seems to be evolving at a faster rate than the people who commonly use it. Harsh laws and new phone apps may prompt promising statistics that seem to indicate that we're onto something, but are these methods really changing the norm for our younger generation? An app might be great in theory, but how many teens will actually have the wherewithal to download it? Will stigmatizing a teenager with the albatross of a criminal record really help matters? In my opinion, the way to solve cyber-bullying is to create self-awareness along with a sense of autonomy and personal responsibility in young children and the parents/guardians who raise them. In order to quell cyber-bullying, it is imperative that we start at a grass root level, beginning in the home. It is critical that we reinforce the importance of engaged parents, part-and-parcel of the education triad including them, their children's educators, and the young people themselves. As I see it, if peace, love, acceptance, or even simple tolerance, was taught at a young age and fostered by adults, this too-common issue would not manifest to the same extreme.

I completely agree that cyber-bullying is very prominent in society today. It also seems that without a real invasion of privacy on society as a whole, there is no real solution to it so far. I’ve never actually been a part of cyber bullying but I have definitely seen it happen. Although the physical abuse is not there, it does affect people and does need to be stopped. I like the idea in your article about the anonymous reports, however I don’t think screenshots will work because of falsified pictures and people might remain too afraid even if they are anonymous. I think that the only real solution to this problem is better parenting. In a perfect world where children were raised properly, I believe that all bullying in general would be stopped by the good family life. However this will never be the case so perhaps parents just need to start to monitor their kid’s use of the internet. There might not be a real answer to the cyber bullying problem as long as the internet remains a free to use tool, but hopefully soon there can be a well working anonymous solution.

I would like to start off by saying the reason I chose to read and respond to this article is because I am able to connect this personally as I am consistently on social media and notice cyber bullying going on. The points you’ve brought up in regards to the article concerning cyber bullying are 100% accurate. There are a couple of aspects that I would like to address and add on to from your post, the first being the idea that communication has changed. Communication has definitely changed from the time our parents were young teens and modern day. One can even notice these changes when you analyze and notice the way people around their mid 30s to 40s communicate to one another. They simply talk to each other with proper grammar (for the most part) and speak to each other with respect. This is what is lacking from today’s society, which evidently causes the increase of cyber bullying. Kids today take advantage of using social media to make fun of someone because it is behind closed doors and because they lack the courage to confront the person face to face. The problem with most kids is that they use an abundant amount of vulgar language towards one another instead of speaking each other with respect, which is something that older people from a different generation do now. One solution that I wanted to bring up that wasn’t necessarily a part of the article is this idea that one doesn’t need to go on social media if they feel like they are at harm. One may say that every person has the right to use these new methods of communication; so another solution could be kids choosing whom they have on social network. There are ways such as deleting or blocking someone off your Facebook, twitter, Instagram, etc that you don’t have to associate with people that are partaking in cyber bullying. These methods can ultimately help reduce the amount of cyber bullying as it is truly an epidemic in today’s society.

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