Are the anti-cyberbullying campaigns by the government effective in combating cyberbullying? Cyberbullying is a social problem that has become common and growing fast online due to rampant information sharing. Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, torture, or humiliate a person or target. Sending malicious texts, posting false information about a person online, or sharing embarrassing photos or videos are examples of cyberbullying.
It has become one of the main sources of stress, especially in the lives of young people and children. It exposed victims to hurt, embarrassment, and fear. In addition, it can even cause them to take their own life. A child expressing anger or anxiety after going online is an example of potential cyberbullying.
What are the Anti-Cyberbullying Campaigns?
Anti-cyberbullying campaigns protect media users, especially children, and youth, from cyberbullying.
- 1 out of 4 children is directly experiencing cyberbullying
- 1 out of 6 children admits to having committed cyberbullying intentionally or unknowingly
Along with cyberbullying actions, awareness about this issue is increasing day by day. Unfortunately, the destructive effects of cyberbullying also increase. People who experienced cyberbullying and committed suicide are just one of the examples of its effects. The laws implemented on their behalf ensure fewer people experience cyberbullying.
Especially, thanks to these regulations made by the media organizations that regularly work on social media and the relevant parts of the state, it is much easier to fight against cyberbullying.
How Common is Cyberbullying in the United States?
The USA is an important country that hosts advanced information technologies. The high level of welfare in the USA also creates a derivative of purchasing and ownership. While the phenomenon of crime that arises as a result of the abuse of information technologies shows its effect years later in economically underdeveloped or underdeveloped countries, legal infrastructure works to combat crimes can progress much faster due to the high sensitivity in the US society. In this context;
• According to a study conducted in 2019, there is a direct relationship between the prescription drugs commonly used among young people in the United States and cyberbullying.
- 9 out of 10 adolescents experience bullying at school
- 5% of these young people have direct exposure to cyberbullying
• According to a study conducted in January 2021, more than 75% of social media users were directly exposed to cyberbullying on Facebook in the USA. Additionally, 24% of these users have direct exposure by using Instagram and Twitter.
• A study conducted by the US Department of Justice in 2021 revealed that 7% of young people studying in public schools are exposed to cyberbullying. 19% out of the 1501 young people surveyed experienced bullying.
How Many States Have Passed Anti-Cyberbullying Campaigns and Laws
The USA is a federal republic consisting of 50 states and 1 federal district. Constitutionally, there are basically two jurisdictions in US law. The first is the state judicial system, and the second is the federal judicial system. According to a published report:
- 28% of students aged 12-18 experience physical bullying
- 9% of students experience cyberbullying
- 4% received harmful content from other students
- 3% received continuous messages
New York Anti-Cyberbullying Laws
There is no law specific to cyberbullying in New York. The law can prosecute cyber crimes under harassment and stalking crimes.
1. Harassment Cyberbullying Crimes: Covers crimes that constantly disturb a person in a disturbing way. Repetitive bullying acts constitute the crime of harassment and cyberbullying, so they require prosecution. Cyberbullying statements that carry the possibility of physical harm to the person constitute a trial under New York cyberbullying laws.
2. Follow-up Cyberbullying Crimes: These cyberbullying crimes, which are similar to harassment, also include all kinds of illegal cyberbullying statements.
California Anti-Cyberbullying Law
California law does not specifically address cyberbullying, but there are penalties for digitally harassing, intimidating, angering, or stalking. All kinds of bullying or disturbing situations in the field of digital media have the potential to be criminal. Other situations that carry a cybercrime element are:
- Unauthorized sharing of personal information
- Abusive messages,
- Cyberbullying situations for physical contact
Cyberbullying of these and similar qualities carry a prison sentence of up to 1 year in the state of California and a fine of $1,000.
The incident that remains on the agenda and is the subject of discussion most in the USA regarding the cyberbullying act is the suicide of the victim. It has become more debatable how big and destructive the act of cyberbullying has for children and young people. This issue has been on the agenda for a long time among non-governmental organizations, academic circles, and politicians across the country.
Anti-cyberbullying campaigns would include online call centers for victims to call. Another anti-cyberbullying campaign includes the dissemination of information on site-sharing sites. In addition, a bill called Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act has been prepared to fill the legal gap regarding the crime of cyberbullying at the federal level.
What are Some Examples of Cyberbullying?
Ryan Halligan (1989–2003), who is mentally and physically disabled, committed suicide in his own home. After this incident, anti-cyberbullying campaigns increase. Vermont’s Suicide Prevention Law, which regulates the need for schools to cooperate in order to eliminate the legislative gap and fight against bullying, was adopted in April 2006. Also, read about the negative effects of cyberbullying on mental health.
Jessica Logan, 18 years old (1990–2008), voluntarily sent her nude pictures to her boyfriend. Her boyfriend distributed the pictures when they broke up. He also posted it on his Facebook and MySpace accounts. Unable to recover from this psychological pressure, Jessica Logan committed suicide. After this event, the Jessica Logan Act (Jessica Logan Act) numbered 116 was passed in February 2012 in the State of Ohio.
Tyler Clementi ended her life after her boyfriend posted her images on his Twitter. After this incident, the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act was prepared in May 2011 to combat cyberbullying, but it was not enacted because it was concerned about preventing freedom of expression.
Amanda decided to end her life after nude pictures of her showed up online. After the suicide incident, the legislators developed strategies to combat cyberbullying and created an official blog called “The Amanda Todd Legacy” and started to give help and support to families through a blog they created.
Common Facts About Cyber Bullying
1. A study among young people aged 12 to 17 showed that 37% of young people have been cyberbullied, and more than 30% of these young people have been cyberbullied more than once.
2. A study revealed that 23% of students said or did something bullying online against another person, and 27% of them experienced the same thing from someone else.
3. Along with these studies, the effects of cyberbullying were also examined by gender, and at this point, it was determined that 15% of girls and 6% of boys were exposed to four different types of cyberbullying compared to boys.
4. LGBTQ+ students are among the individuals most affected by cyberbullying. Accordingly, in a study conducted, LGBTQ+ students are exposed to cyberbullying much more than other students compared to other students.
5. Instagram is one of the media platforms where social media bullying is most common, and according to a study conducted in this context, it is reported that 42% of Instagram users are exposed to cyberbullying by different users within the platform. One of these tools is undoubtedly Socialays, which is one of the most preferred tools of recent times. As a social media protector, Socialays aims to protect users against cyberbullying with its artificial intelligence-supported structure.
The application, which categorizes social media comments by their sentiments such as positive, negative, neutral, question, and spam, automatically hides malicious comments and blocks cyberbullies. It protects users from receiving cyberbullying comments. Hidden views are viewable and categorized in the application panel, and you can view them or delete them. You can also change its category.
6. Media companies are the most responsible for the fight against cyberbullying, as 83% of young people believe that social media platforms should do more qualified work at this point.
Anti-Cyberbullying Campaigns and Prevention
The Internet and social media are living creatures, but also virtual organisms, revealing the life that humanity has lived. It is a mechanism that constantly reflects the social activities of digital natives, what they produce and publish, like a mirror, to the public. These are platforms that, by their very nature, have a democratic but also anarchic structure, which is not very possible to regulate and control.
Anti-cyberbullying campaigns and efforts to make laws in accordance with the rapid change in these platforms seem to bring more harm than good to humanity. For this reason, there is a need for more education and raising a conscious society instead of controlling these areas with legal regulations. In the short term, this situation will lead to more effective results in terms of combating the negativities that may occur in the cyber environment.
An educational plan can prevent widespread cyberbullying. In addition, it is important to promote social awareness. Imposing ethical responsibility on social media users also helps. While young generations benefit from internet technologies, they should not be a prisoner of technology.