Cyber bullying is a premeditation and malicious antagonistic activity that is demonstrated by a perpetrator towards a victim (Hendricks, 2012). Many young people spend more time texting and on the internet and, therefore, they are culpable to be victimized by their friends and others who have malicious intent and are intent on intimidating and harassing the teens or preteens. The cyber bullies anonymously attack their victims by forging their information on various social sites to cover their tracks. Bullying in schools has traditionally taken the form of aggression acts that are repetitively perpetrated by students on their fellow students (Kowalski et al., 2014). With the introduction of computers and smart mobile devices, bullying has taken a new turn. The acts of cyberbullying have led to suicides among many teens who cannot take the stress and pressure associated with being maligned by their peers or anonymous people. As a result, cyberbullying is a vice that should be stopped completely.
Evolution of Cybercrime
Cyberbullying has evolved from the use of text to the advanced use of various apps on smartphones that lead to the character assassination of the victims. In the 1990s, more people had cell phones and to some extent, some children owned cell phones especially those in middle and high schools. In 2010, more than three-quarters of the teen populations had phones and 2014 evidenced 78 % of teens owning a cell phone. More teens have access to the internet as compared to the last decade. Computers and other mobile devices have evolved greatly, and more information can be shared on the net than before. Cyberbullying got national attention in 2007 after Megan, who was a teenager from Missouri, was hoaxed and repeatedly attacked online by her reportedly fictitious boyfriend and her friends (Mirsky & Omar, 2015). The perpetrators of the cyberbullying were the mother and sister to a classmate or Megan. Such instances have shown the extent to which society has sunk in terms of cyberbullying. A middle school student that targeted the principle and an algebra teacher reportedly created a website. It had threatening and uncouth statements about them.
The digital age has enabled not only texts to be longer and accessed by many people but also pictures. Some teens have been bullied with pictures that are defamatory and have led to some of the teens committing suicide. Jessica Logan is a teen who committed suicide after nude pictures of her were posted on the internet and were circulated throughout among her fellow students in Cincinnati (Carpenter & Hubbard, 2014). A mother and her child perpetrated the act. Such an act to a teen is rather traumatizing, and she lacked the courage to face the students after the posting of the nude pictures. The cyberbullying incident led to the Jessica Logan Act that seeks to encourage schools to prohibit cyberbullying. The ABC news has highlighted the plight of cyberbullied victims recently by airing a documentary titled Bullied to Death in America’s Schools”. The documentary shows the various sad actions that have led to the deaths of teenagers due to cyber bullying. The documentary pointed to the fact that some 14 teenagers had lost their lives by committing suicide.
Technology and Evolution of Cybercrime
Computers had the monopoly of posting more content through emails and social sites in the past, but that has changed drastically. The digital age has brought about portable devices that can be carried around quite easily and used for any one’s convenience. The mobile devices have evolved greatly to incorporate various features like cameras and apps that can instantly post any information on the social media that includes Gmail, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter among many other which have millions of users (Kowalski et al., 2012). Many apps have access to social media sites, which are linked to the camera, and pictures can be posted instantly without the use of a computer. Also, smartphones have led to a revolution in communication not only in using text messages and calls but also in using pictures taken at a specified time.
Therefore, cyberbullying can bring on board many users who know the person and who can post negative comments about him or her. As such, one person can start the cyberbullying while bringing others into it. For example, malicious content can be posted about someone in school and everyone in the school can be able to see the content and even make comments to the victims who as explained above had led to many undesirable actions that have led to death (Schneider et al., 2012). The stressful conditions that occur have often led to suicides or the victim withdrawing him or herself from her peers. Some people may even hack into other accounts and use them in bullying their fellow students without the knowledge of the account user. Various incidences have been reported in social media where unrated content has been posted on their walls that have led to a barrage of unwarranted comments from users of the specific social sites.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Cyberbullying is an evil that has greatly affected most teens and should be brought to a stop to prevent any undesirable acts like suicides from taking place (Slonje et al., 2013). Social sites should educate teens, encourage them to report any user who posts malicious content that is not true, and ensure that the teens know how to block such users should they surface on their walls. Initiative should thus be taken to deal with the vice and prevent further accidents involving teens.
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