Dongjin “Scott” Seo
Bullying is a subject that is covered frequently in schools (where unfortunately it is the most common). Bullying is such a widely discussed topic as it is evolving and taking on different shapes and forms as technology improves. However, the school often times only focuses on the physical side of bullying – insults, violence, and rumors. Sometimes, the silent deadly killer – cyber bullying – stays under the radar and continues to be a problem.
It is true that cyberbullying is not as common as physical bullying. Yet, it is just as deadly. According to the results from the 2013 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey, only 6.9% of the students experienced cyber bullying. (In comparison, 21.5% of the students were physically bullied.) However, the unique nature of cyber bullying leaves it as one of the most deadly forms of its kind. In fact, according to the same report, victims of cyberbullying showed higher chance of showing extreme fearful behavior compared to victims of traditional bullying, having a higher chance of avoiding specific places -such as school- in fear of attack or harm. Consequently, victims of cyberbullying had higher chance of carrying weaponry, such as guns, in America.
To compare the deadliness of cyber bullying, we must understand on-the-ground bullying first. Physical bullying, according to the same survey, involved mostly false rumors and insults.
In these cases, the victims can correct the rumors and insults thrown at them by physically telling the truth to the misled people. Furthermore, the victim can even punish the bully by telling a guardian or a teacher – perhaps even a lawyer if it’s severe. However, the most important thing is that it’s verbal; the audience is limited. It’s uncommon to see rumors spreading from schools to schools, countries to countries.
However, this is often not the case in cyber bullying. Because cyber bullying happens online, it is sometimes difficult to figure out the bully’s identity. Also, due to the nature of the internet, it is rather difficult to delete the unwanted content online. A rumor posted online can spread like a forest fire, in every direction, maybe even to the people living on the other side of the world. However, there is very little water the victim can pour to put out the raging fire – it is very difficult to remedy the situation at the same rate at which rumor spreads.
This horrifying situation may not even be what the bully initially wanted. The bully may have started a rumor just for fun. However, a “joke” can quickly get out of control. In this case, nothing can be done to save the victim from burning to the ground.
Take Amanda Todd’s story for an example. Amanda Todd, British Colombian teenager, was constantly bullied and blackmailed online with her leaked nudes. She was forced to move schools regularly as her pictures would eventually spread to the school she was in. In the end, she was unable to break away from the anonymous cyber bully and was pushed to committing suicide.
For these reasons, in my opinion, cyber bullying is the worst form of bullying due to its nature – deadly and explosive. Therefore, the school, while looking at bullying as a whole, should spend extra time addressing the issue of cyberbullying. In addition, strict laws and regulations should be created regarding cyber bullying to prevent or at least punish cyber bullies.