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September 20, 2013

What Can We Do About Cyberbullying?


While digital technology continues to serve as an important way to connect people and communities, sometimes those connections turn out to be more harmful than helpful.

The rise of the Internet has also facilitated cyberbullying and cyber-harrassment, which can affect teens and adults alike. Josh, a 13-year-old student from Plainfield, Ill., wrote to NewsHour Extra about his family’s experience with cyber-harrassment, and what he thinks can be done about the problem.

According to PBS Parents, one in three kids are cyber-bullied sometime in their adolescence. Bullying in person may seem bad enough, but when it’s over the internet, everybody can see it. Bullies over the internet are “cowards” hiding behind a computer screen or a cell phone. Whether it is getting the police more involved, making consequences worse for cyberbullying and harassment, or educating kids on the problem, something has to change. People need to work together to stop cyberbullying.

Josh, Plainfield, Ill.

Josh, Plainfield, Ill.

I’ve had a personal experience with cyberbullying. Over the period of three months, my family was hacked and threatened. We had to change passwords, emails, phone numbers, and we came close to wiping out one of our computers. When the police were called they didn’t do anything about it. They said there was “nothing” they could do. We had to deal with this over a long period of time, and at one point, the FBI got involved. Even then it took about a month to stop it. It really took a toll on my family, and I’m sure it does to other families too.

So for society to solve this issue we need to get the police involved.  It needs to be so that once the police get the “call,” they take action. They shouldn’t be allowed to leave the family to fend for themselves.

Another thing that would decrease cyberbullying is to make the consequences worse. There aren’t specific consequences for many cyberbullying tactics, which is why it has become so prevalent in our culture. Big fines would be one way to increase the consequences.

Unfortunately, a majority of the kids are cyber-bullied, don’t tell anyone. That needs to change. Kids need to tell their parents or some sort of authority. If the kids don’t tell, but the parent has a feeling that something is happening, they need to have a talk with the kid, or look in their computer or phone.

With cyberbullying as a growing problem, we need to take steps to tackle it. By upping fines and getting police involved, we can stop this. Cyberbullying is a horrible thing in our world today, and it is time it’s stopped. One in three kids should not have to experience it.

Josh is 13-years-old and from Plainfield, Illinois. He enjoys acting and drawing. 

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