Cyber-Bullying Is a Crime
It is easy to see the effects of cyber-bullying. A schoolgirl running home crying her eyes out and refusing to leave her room is one example. But this is not only restricted to kids. Cyber-bullying can also happen to adults such as the use of the Internet to harass and torment others with harmful words. It is easy to see the effects of cyber-bullying but it is hard to find out who is the bully making it hard for authorities to pin the blame on the perpetrator of a crime and therefore making victims more vulnerable. One of the most helpful ways to ratify a statute against cyber-bullying is the idea that it must be deliberate and repetitive. Based on this fact one can begin the process of developing statutes that can significantly reduce the occurrence of cyber-bullying.
There is therefore a need to strengthen laws against cyber-bullying. It has to begin first with an accurate definition of cyber-bullying as well as making it extensive to cover every form and shape of this new type of harassment and psychological attack on others. According to experts, cyber-bullying is the Internets version of the schoolyard bully. Instead of having a typical in-your-face verbal taunting and sometimes physical confrontation between bully and victim, cyber-bullying does not only the ability to send text messages, images, and voice messages through cyberspace so that the intended target will know about it as well as the general public. In the context of a school setting a schoolmate or classmate will send messages that are tantamount to bullying but this time around a group of students can join in and make life extremely difficult for the victim.
Dealing with the Web
One of the most important facets of cyber-bullying is the fact that the perpetrator of the crime can use different methods to and very difficult to track. One researcher was able to put it succinctly when she wrote about the failure of authorities to recognize the nuances and complexities of this crime and she wrote, the range of possibilities, the fluidity with which it is possible to move from one form of technology such as email, MSN, Facebook, MySpace, web-blogs, chat room and so on, and the capacity for millions of people to read and participate in various forms of communication make cyber-bullying a difficult not only to define but fully understand (Shariff, 2008). Aside from the complex nature of the problem that requires a Herculean effort to master, it must also be stated that cyber-bullying laws will have to be revised on a regular basis in keeping up with changes in technology.
According to theCenter for Safe and Responsible Internet Use(CSRIU), cyber-bullying is sending or posting harmful or cruel text or images using the Internet or other digital communication devices (CSRIU, 2009). This means that a computer can be used to send to other computers, a mobile phone can also be a tool that can be utilized to perpetrate this crime. But it will be revealed later that the number of methods of sending or posting messages and images that constitute cyber-bullying is ever expanding. Yet, the basic definition can allow authorities to at least create an extensive means of covering the most important areas of concern such as:
- Flaming this is sending an angry or confrontational message through the Internet so that the intended recipient of the said message will get upset and at the same inflame the situation;
- Online harassment this is the repetitious sending of hurtful messages using the Internet;
- Outing/Trickery Outing is the sending or posting of sensitive or embarrassing information about a person and spreading this information through the Internet or through mobile devices such as cell phones. Trickery on the other hand is using deception to obtain private information and then posting it online for public viewing;
- Exclusion it is the deliberate act with the goal of excluding a person from joining an online group (Shore, 2005).
In order to mitigate the impact of cyber-bullying or to create a deterrent so that others will be discouraged to even think about cyber-bullying, the next logical step is to ratify tough laws dealing with this form of harassment. It must be made clear what constitutes cyber-bullying and then inform the general public that there are certain behaviors that can be considered a crime. The preceding section wherein cyber-bullying was defined can be used as a basis for the ratification of statutes dealing with the said crime.
Theactus reussimply means that the accused is alleged to have committed a crime (., 2006). A witness or some form of evidence testified or give the idea that the said individual is a principal, accessory or accomplice in the perpetuation of a crime (Douglas et al., 2006). This is a foremost step when it comes to creating a statute to control cyber-bullying. Themens reaon the other hand easily complicates matters because it would be very difficult to prove that the person typing on a keyboard or a keypad had the premeditation to harass or hurt the recipient of a message. For instance, in many cases of violent crimes the perpetrator and the victim were in close proximity to one another. It would be physically impossible for a rapist to have committed the alleged crime if he was 100 miles away. When it comes to cyber-bullying the guilty party can be as far as a thousand miles away and still be able to commit crime. This makes it difficult to establish the crime of cyber-bullying.