Look Out, Cyberbullies
One of the sad truths of life is that some people are bullies. And while we've all dealt with our own, the Internet has caused the problem to get out of hand. Unlike regular bullying, cyberbullying can reach a much wider audience, and the proof of the attacks lasts forever on the Internet. The anonymity of the Internet has encouraged bullies to be even crueler than ever. This year, there have been several high-profile cases of cyberbullying leading to suicide, such as Phoebe Prince, and more recently, Tyler Clementi. The one silver lining in all the cyberbullying tragedies is that people are starting to take notice and take action.
According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, 44 states currently have anti-bullying legislation, 30 of those directly mention electronic forms of harassment. Additionally, the FCC has taken a firm stand against cyberbullying by recently requiring that schools receiving subsidies for Internet service will have to teach students about the dangers of cyberbullying and the responsible use of social networking sites. Legislative and regulatory changes aren't the only attacks cyberbullies face.
A New York judge recently required Google to reveal the identity of an anonymous YouTube tormenter. This decision sends a clear message that cyberbullies will no longer be able to hide behind the anonymity of the Internet.
Even Facebook has joined in the fight, creating a new application that connects cyberbullying victims with safety organizations and gives them the ability to report incidents of bullying.
While we still have a long way to go before Internet bullies everywhere are silenced, the past few months have seen a lot of progress in fighting cyberbullying.