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Sarah Fakhouri
Ms. Gardner
English 10 Honors
8 May 2014
The Bully of the Net
As the rates of suicide increase with cyberbullying, whether schools and lawmakers
should do more to protect the students from being cyberbullied has been a controversial topic.
According to stopcyberbullying.org, cyberbullying occurs when . . . a child, preteen or teen is
tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child,
preteen or teen using the internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones."
(Munn) Teens who are bullied are five times more likely to be depressed, which in some cases,
leads to them harming themselves. (Bennett) The law makes it mandatory that schools are to
have rules that apply to the issue, but after being edited, the law also allows the school districts to
discipline the students for cyberbullying outside of school, if the childs education is affected.
(Howard Perry) By monitoring their social media sites, by informing them about the
consequences of cyberbullying, and by counseling victims of cyberbullying, schools and
lawmakers will make the students feel like they are living in a much safer environment around
their peers.
Initially, according to a recent poll from 1World Online, 59 percent of people believe
that schools should not be allowed to monitor students' social media accounts to ensure safety.
(Wood) For example, students will feel as if their freedom of speech is being taken away from
them, knowing that the school district is watching everything they say or do online. Additionally,
if a 16 year old female was in a sexually active relationship with a 18 year old male and posts
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revealing pictures together - it could result in charges of statutory rape. (Wood) Because the male
is considered a legal adult by being 18, if the school district realized that he was in a relationship
with the 16 year old female, they would be forced to inform the parents about the relationship.
To summarize, more than half of people disagree with school districts monitoring students
social media sites. Indeed, many students may think that they will not be able to post what they
would like. However, if those students are afraid of posting something with the school district
watching, odds are that they may be posting something they know would result in them having a
problem with the school.
Admittedly, monitoring the students social media sites may make them feel like they are
having a lack of privacy, meaning that they will not be able to express their thoughts or feelings.
Nevertheless, when one considers the importance of keeping the teenagers safe, it is
unacceptable to allow students to carelessly target another peer, possibly resulting in a child
taking his or her life. For instance, 15-year old Grace McComas, took her own life after enduring
cruel, intense cyberbullying that had been happening for nearly a year. (Meyerson) The school
district was expected to have known about the intense cyberbullying. If they had known about it,
Grace McComas may not have taken her life after experiencing such horrible cyberbullying for a
year. Likewise, Rebecca Sedwick, a 12 year old girl from Florida, committed suicide after
receiving threatening text messages from at least 15 girls. (Wood) The thought of a 12 year old
committing suicide is ambiguous, but the image of Rebecca Sedwick still being alive could be
realistic if the school district was involved. Cyberbullying Research Center found that about
half of young people have experienced some form of cyberbullying, and 10 to 20 percent
experience it regularly. (Wood) To think that 10 to 20 percent of young people are cyberbullied
on a daily basis makes this issue much more important. Boys are twice as likely to be bullies
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than girls are. (Bennett) Based on this research, if our society allows cyberbullying to continue
without attempting to put a stop to it, the safety of our children is just going to keep decreasing
over time. In summation, if the students are aware that their social media sites are being
monitored, why would they risk getting into trouble by harassing their peers online for the school
district to see?
Furthermore, informing the students of the consequences that come along with being an
offender or a silent victim of cyberbullying will make them more aware of the dangers that come
along with it. To illustrate, an offender of cyberbullying could spend up to ten years in jail.
(Bennett) If the teens are aware that one little text or post could result in them spending ten years
in jail, a substantial amount of students would not do it. In addition, one study, of middle-school
boys, found that 60 percent of those deemed bullies would be convicted of at least one crime by
the time they reached 24. (Bennett) If students are not taught about the importance of respecting
their peers early on, they never will. As said by Munn, after being cyberbullied, a students fears
may become a serious mental health issue such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress
disorder. In some cases, children feel like there is no hope for them to stop their cyberbullies;
therefore, turning to what they think is the last resort--suicide. (Munn) Students need to have an
educated adult explain to them that suicide will not put an end to your problems, but owning up
to them will. Obviously, students need to know the consequences that come along with one little
post and how to deal with being a victim of cyberbullying. As a result, if schools have more
policies regarding cyberbullying and the states have more legislation, gradually, this issue can be
solved.
Ultimately, counseling a student who has been cyberbullied means to address the effect it
has on their emotions, to let them know that they are not alone, and to protect them from danger.
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In particular, the school districts need to be aware of what each student is posting or texting and
to whom they are aiming it at. Similarly, a number of students choose not to tell anyone about
being bullied and keep it to themselves, which usually ends with them harming themselves.
Prevention programs have been shown to reduce school bullying by as much as 50 percent.
(Bennett) If the school district creates a prevention program where students express themselves
and the cyberbullying they are experiencing, they will feel like they have a support system
behind them. As stated by Bennett, 160,000 of those kids do not show up at school because they
are afraid of their bullies. Our society is forcing students to believe there is no place that is safe;
not school, not home, not anywhere. Cyberbullying has become so severe that students are
fearful to attend school, resulting to having their bullies confront them. Helping a student who is
being cyberbullied could potentially save their life, which means that the school district must
know who the victims are. Therefore, if it takes monitoring what the students do at all times to
protect them, then so be it.
In conclusion, schools and lawmakers can do much more to protect kids from
cyberbullying; monitor their social media sites, inform them about the consequences of
cyberbullying, and counsel victims of cyberbullying. Ending cyberbullying would make our
society a more sheltered place to live in, leading children to be more social with their peers,
rather than to fear them. We are able to end cyberbullying in a various amount of ways; talk to
the school district, create an anti-bullying program at school, and encourage students to treat
their peers with respect. Talking to the school district about the unbelievable statistics of the
amount of young adults being cyberbullied each day and the rising suicide rate contributing to
cyberbullying will open their eyes to create a solution to this issue. Creating an anti-bullying
program at school will be welcome to anyone and can be a place that students trust one another
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to tell their stories of experience from being cyberbullied. Encouraging students to treat their
peers with respect will be one of the most influential things we can do because it starts off with
us making a change to our society. Let us, as a society, finally make a difference in this world by
ending cyberbullying because no one deserves to be treated like they are less than anyone else.




















Works Cited
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Bennett, Jessica. "From Lockers to Lockup." Newsweek. 11 Oct. 2010: n.p. SIRS Issues
Researcher.
Web. 21 Apr. 2014.
Howard Perry, Kate. "New Florida Law Focuses on Cyberbullying at School, Home." Orlando
Sentinel. 09 Jun. 2013: B.7. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 21 Apr. 2014.
Meyerson, Michael. "Protect Kids--and Speech." Baltimore Sun. 21 Apr. 2013: A.29. SIRS
Issues
Researcher. Web. 21 Apr. 2014.
Munn, Devan. "Cyberbullying Requires a Balanced Approach." Guelph Mercury. 21 May. 2013:
A.2.
SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 21 Apr. 2014.
Wood, Daniel B. "Cyberbullying: Should Schools Police Students' Social Media Accounts?."
Christian
Science Monitor. 17 Sep. 2013: n.p. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 17 Apr. 2014.