Nowadays, users of instant messaging and social networking sites such as MySpace, FaceBook, Xanga and Friendster fall victim to electronic insults,
often by schoolmates. The bullying may include nasty remarks, insults and some serious threats. Boys & girls alike are doing this, though girls
bullying is described as "more subtle". There were cases in the past, not only in the U.S. which such bullying had resulted deaths.
WASHINGTON -- Cyberspace has replaced the schoolyard as the preferred space for bullying among many US kids, who are going online to threaten, insult
and harass each other outside the watchful eye of teachers or parents.
"Many kids are involved or engaged in this behavior because it is sort of out of distance," Justin Patchin, assistant professor of criminal justice
at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, told Agence France-Presse. "They don't see the harm that they are causing, they don't really think that
they are doing anything wrong, they think they're just having fun," he added.
The phenomenon has even provoked suicides. In 2005, a 15-year-old boy named Jeff killed himself in the southern state of Florida after being harassed
for two years on the Internet by other teenagers. Another 13-year-old boy from the northeast state of Vermont, Ryan Halligan, committed suicide in
2003. Halligan, who suffered from a slight handicap, had become the butt of jokes on the Internet by several girls.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
Truly, it seems that the internet is the perfect place for this kind of aggression. Where most people, mostly kids are involved or engaged in this
behavior because it is sort of out of distance. You don't actually see the person you are communicating face to face. In most cases, there is almost
a complete anonymosity. Schools are trying to solve the problem by enforcing "respect policies" or honor codes under which cyber-bullying would
fall. But they also need to consider that they will be close to infringing on freedom of speech enforcing such restrictions.
In the past, we have seen cyber-bullying related death of kids that caused fear among the parents. This is considered difficult because there is a
real danger here. The threath is real, yet regulating the use of online communication could also result of violating certain laws.
Here at ATS, all members are subject to obey the Terms & Conditions. I can say that it is being moderated professionally. The bottomline is that you
have a model here that worked, and although it is considered difficult to regulate online communication specially with kids, that should not prevent
of having a very well regulated use of social networking & instant messaging.
[edit on 28-1-2007 by searching_for_truth]