Online Bullying in Thunder Bay
THUNDER BAY – Editorial – Online bullying is a problem, not only for teenagers. Part of the problem stems from the behavior learned from adults. If adults spend time online bullying, harassing or in some cases, in groups that belittle or bad mouth people, it is little wonder that youth would copy the behaviour.
One of the issues is how people engage online on social media. Some see so-called ‘Private Groups’ as a way to share their behaviour. Social media and law enforcement are often behind the speed of technology when it comes to dealing with online behaviour.
Is cyber bullying serious?
Absolutely. However some people seem incapable of realizing that their online behaviour is harmful and potentially dangerous to others.
Hiding behind a private group, doesn’t change that fact, however over the past several weeks, reporting on cyberbullying, groups in Thunder Bay that started like it was ‘fun’ seem to be mostly oblivious to the insulting actions they promote don’t stay private.
Simply put, post it online and you can be sure it is shared, or going to be shared.
Having interviewed several people who have been impacted by the actions of these online bullies, there are several reactions. First of all, one of the most mature approaches was to simply take note of the people, and realize that their worlds must be very small if what they do is spend their time online attacking and attempting to belittle people in our community.
The second approach that some of the victims have tried to do is defend themselves. The reality is that is exactly what a cyber bully thrives on doing. The more one pays attention to a cyber bully, the more they enjoy the attention.
Often the legislation lags behind the technology. Social Media giant Facebook seems to take a slow process to many of the cyber bullying efforts. That is likely to change. With the impact on teens who have committed suicide as a result of online bullying, it is increasingly likely that either Facebook and Internet Service Providers will either face the opportunity to self police, or will have their efforts legislated.
NetNewsLedger will be talking with our provincial leaders over the coming weeks to uncover what Ontario is planning in terms of legislation.
Thumbs Down to Cyber Insulting
The current legislation in Canada is under review at the federal level. In May, Prime Minister Harper attended a round table in Winnipeg on cyber bullying. The Prime Minister has promised that the federal legislation will be updated.
Additionally, federal and provincial governments are working to find the gaps in the Canadian Criminal Code to address cyberbullying.
The move started last fall of with the suicide of 15-year-old AmandaTodd.
Todd was bullied for years online. That bullying was not stopped online, and it spread to public bullying.
Amanda Todd created a very haunting video that she posted on Youtube sharing the horrors that she went through.
The teenager then took her own life.
Can cyber bullying start small and grow?
The issue in Thunder Bay according to youth and adults is that often cyber bullying starts small, and continues to grow.
Those who engage in the practice seem to feel that their actions are harmless.
Right now the easiest solutions are either ignore them, or report them to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Likely both solutions will work.