The suicide of a Rutgers University student after his roommate broadcast a video on the Internet has prompted a discussion over cyber-bullying and privacy issues. Fellow classmates held candle light vigils and continue to mourn the loss of Tyler Clementi, a freshman and talented violinist.
The 18-year old committed suicide September 22, after learning that his roommate, Dharun Ravi, and a female student, Molly Wei, live-streamed a sexual encounter he had with another male. Ravi had tweeted about Clementi's private liaison on more than one occasion.
With Facebook, Twitter and MySpace all public forums on the Internet, the opportunity for cyber-bullying continues to grow. In the United States, the effects of cyber-bullying have led to a number of teen suicides.
Both Ravi and Wei have been charged with invasion of privacy, but prosecutors are seeking more serious charges. Rutgers has launched Project Civility, a venture designed to help students think about how they treat others.
"The tools of the Internet enabled this cruel or sadistic behavior to be amplified and publicized, not just on the campus, but throughout the world." --Dr. Jeff Liberman, Columbia University
"This is a larger issue, not only for Rutgers University, but for all college and universities, to really wake up and understand, we have a long way to go in creating these safe learning environments for our students." --Shane Windmeyer, Campus Pride
1. What is cyber-bullying?
2. What does the term "privacy" mean to you?
3. How does the Internet redefine "privacy"?
1. How does this example of bullying differ from bullying that doesn't involve the Internet?
2. What do you think Clementi's roommate thought about when he set up the web camera?Do you think he had doubts or concerns about what might happen because of his actions?
3. How much jail time should the roommate serve? Why?
4. Have you or someone you know been the target of cyber-bully? Who did you inform and what might be some ways to combat it?