The Vague World of Cyberbullying

There is a most interesting case taking place right now that places the issue of cyberbullying under a microscope.  The case of Lori Drew has held the national spotlight for some time now as it has brought out this new and somewhat vague concept of online harrassment.

What exactly is a cyberbully?  One definition I read defined it as “a child, preteen or teen [being] tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. [Cyberbullying] has to have a minor on both sides, or at least have been instigated by a minor against another minor.” 

Lori Drew certainly does not fit this definition of a cyberbully given the fact that she is forty-nine years old.  The above definition moves to clarify that issue by stating that when adults are involved, it morphs into the realm of cyberharassment or cyberstalking. 

There is no denying the fact that kids can be cruel and the onslaught of technology has given them large platforms to spread their wrath.  In the case of young people, cyberbullying makes a lot of sense.  But when does the concept of cyberbullying get muddied?  And if we start prosecuting people as cyberbully’s, how will that affect online social media?  I would love a little dialogue on this topic because I am admittedly unsure of what to think.

I do not think that cyberbullying is cut and dry, black or white.  But I do believe that harassment takes place and in the case of Lori Drew and Megan Meier, there is legitimate evidence of bullying and downright hateful behavior.  But, can Lori Drew be prosecuted for this?  Is there truly a legal case against her?  If the judge drops the case  then what is the next step?  Should laws be set up to prevent others from bullying online?  How is this monitored and who decides when someone is bullying and when someone is being bullied?

For those who are perhaps trying to protect or defend their online identity and make strides to keep others from taking their intellectual property, what mode of action do they take to keep from being labeled a cyberbully?  This is where it all begins to get fuzzy for me.  What are your thoughts?  Perhaps this post is a little scattered, but I think it’s an important topic and rather than me trying desperately to figure out an answer, I’d rather hear from you. 

I know it’s a holiday and this is a rather heavy topic for Thanksgiving.  But one thing that I think we can all be thankful for are the freedoms that we possess in this country.  So with that in mind, how do we regulate cyberbullying and what steps should we be taking to make sure that our freedom of speech/freedom of press is not limited due to fear of being labeled by others?  

Think about it.  Eat some turkey and stuffing, sit back on the couch and let yourself fall into a gluttonous stupor.  As you settle in between consciousness and wakefulness, think specifically about this one topic and see if you have any brilliant revelations.  But, after reading Zach’s post, make sure you quickly wake up, rush to the computer and record your thoughts before they dissipate into the dark recesses of your mind…

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

Advertisements

3 Responses to “The Vague World of Cyberbullying”

  1. newmomoldmom Says:

    This is such a complicated topic. As a mom, I’m really bothered that another mother did this to a child. If nothing else happens, I hope this case reminds others that our actions and words — online and offline, written or typed or text-messaged — can have dire consequences. I blogged about that aspect of the case on my site, http://www.newmomoldmom.wordpress.com

  2. thescarletfoundation Says:

    The story is absolutely heartbreaking. I’m sickened that this happened to any child. Teens have such fragile egos in the first place. Good post. There is so much to say about this topic. I also just blogged about it on The Scarlet Foundation wordpress site.

    http://thescarletfoundation.wordpress.com/2008/11/24/cyber-bullies-v-mom

  3. Heartbreaking indeed, mr. Difrawi. And it is even worse when child abuse happens in real life, isn’t it? You’re the expert…

    http://sunbiz.org/ Corporation search Scarlet Foundation Inc.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=difrawi+child+abuse

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: