It's about time to end cyberbullying
Cyberbullying has come to be a well-known part of internet usage among young people, and itís not a good thing. Not only does bullying on the web broadcast derogatory remarks made to certain individuals, it also gives bullies the opportunity to hurt others without really being held accountable.
But all of that is about to change.
Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed into law legislation that is intended to prevent and combat cyberbullying. A measure introduced by the Assembly, the new law requires that schools play an active role when bullying is reported.
Bullying is something that has touched everybody in one way or another. Whether we were victims of bullying or even bullies, the harmful nature of bullying has affected all of us.
It brings me back to my elementary school and high school days, although cyberbullying was not as prevalent back then.
I remember being in elementary school and witnessing horrible bullying on behalf of some of my classmates. It was always directed at the kids who were different Ė kids with learning disabilities, kids with different family lives, kids with interests unlike others.
It always really bothered me when I would see bullying occur firsthand, and lucky for me, my parents taught me that bullying was the wrong way to go.
I would often defend the kids who were bullied in school, and subsequently, I, too, would get bullied. From name-calling to downright hurtful statements, bullying was a truly painful experience to deal with.
So I vowed to never be on the giving end when it came to bullying. I would defend others, I would be bullied as a result, and it was OK. At least I knew that I was doing the right thing, and that was always good enough for me.
As I grew up, witnessing bullying never ended, it just changed. Name-calling turned to gossip in high school, which is just as bad as bullying in my opinion. The internet became a means to socialize, and with that came hurtful socialization.
I witnessed my friends being bullied on internet programs like AIM, before the days of Facebook. Time and time again, theyíd receive mean messages from others who had the security of hiding behind a computer screen. There was really nothing they could do besides endure it, which has been the way of the world for some time.
But now, bullying on the internet will be more difficult, as reports of cyberbullying will be investigated and dealt with promptly.
And itís about time.
In the past couple of years, weíve heard horror stories of kids entering depressive states because they were bullied on the internet. In some extremely unfortunate cases, weíve learned of children committing suicide because they just couldnít take the pain anymore. All of this because itís easier to hurt others from a distance than to their faces. Itís a truly sickening thought.
Some kids make it their missions to stir up controversy on the internet by bullying others. They call themselves trolls, and they knowingly hurt others for reasons I will never understand.
But itís time that the trolls be pushed back under their bridges and the victims of bullying to stand together. Enough is enough. This legislation could not be passed at a better time.
The new law requires that schools report and investigate claims of bullying, as well as take preventative measures such as classes on bullying and tolerance. Kids donít always understand that weíre all different in one way or another, and hopefully the anti-bullying classes will teach them that. Hopefully, they will embrace one anotherís differences rather than persecute them.
I applaud the governor and our state legislators for addressing this issue, as it is a truly important one. The cyberbullying has got to stop and kids have to stop living in fear.
Enough is enough. This legislation will at the very least curb bullying in or out of the classroom, and itís about time.