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What Role Should Cyberbullying Law and Policy Play

  • Date Submitted: 10/30/2010 09:58 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 26.8 
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Cyber bullying is a relatively new phenomenon[1]. It refers to juvenile (an individual who is 18 years or younger) tormenting, threatening, harassing or embarrassing another juvenile through the use of new technologies. These technologies include the internet (for instance, private messages, emails and live chat rooms) and mobile telecommunication (for instance, live calls, voicemails and text messages). Whilst the practice of cyber bullying is not limited to children (cyber bullying behavior can be identified in adults as well), the behavior if instigated by an adult (an individual over the age of 18) is referred to as cyber harassment of cyber stalking[2].
This essay will provide an answer regarding the role that law and policy should play in reducing the extent of cyber bullying by: providing reasons why cyber bullying legislation is important, looking at how technologies are used to cyber bully, looking at the prevalence of cyber bullying in Australia and lastly, by looking at the current policies and legislations that deal with cases of cyber bullying.
It is important to provide an answer regarding the role that law and policy should play in reducing the extent of cyber bullying because; the effects of cyber bullying can be serious and even fatal. It is indicated by a growing body of research that individuals (whether child or adult) who are persistently subjected to abusive behavior are at risk of stress related illness which can sometimes lead to suicide. This is due to there being no escape for those being cyber bullied (victimization is ongoing, 24/7).Other consequences of cyber bullying include the victim seeking revenge upon the bully or engaging in other deviant/criminal activities as a coping mechanism[3].

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[1] Webster, C, “What is cyberbullying?”, Resources, Cyberbullying info website,viewed on the 19/10/10, < http://www.cyberbullying.info/resources/downloads/ChrisWebster_WhatIsCyberbullying.pdf>

[2] Ibid
[3] Hinduja,...

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