Current Solutions and Why they Suck
Bullying is a concern in many school districts across the United States. Most schools have anti-bullying plans in place(SOURCE) The common solution is to retrain bullies to be kinder and to teach other kids to step in when they see others getting bullied. An email from Justin Patchin, a representative of Cyberbullying Research Center said finding a “permanent solution” to the problem depends on the individual situation. “In some cases authorities need to get involved, (school administrator, police), in others perhaps a parent can resolve. It really depends on the nature and extent of the [bullying]. Everyone is different.” (Patchin, personal communication, November 7, 2017).
The idea is that if third parties such as adults can respond to the bullying quick enough, a message can be sent out that bullying is behaviour that will not be tolerated. This method was originally created for offline bullying and is assumed to help with online bullying as well. (stopbullying.gov) However, in surveys conducted in support groups, students said that when they became aware that their friends were cyberbullied, they stayed away from the situation because they were afraid to be involved. They also reported that many bystanders who were not associates of the victim would also ignore the situation (Pelfrey, 2014, p. 124). This shows that if relying on third parties is the only solution to stop bullying, then victims run the risk of waiting around for saviors who may never come.
Because no one is stepping up to the plate to condemn bullies the behavior will continue. Dr. Kinghorn said, “If there have been enough examples of people not being punished for cyberbullying and not enough examples of substantive punishment, the people who are already inclined to be bullies will be more bold in doing it without the cover of anonymity.” (Mason, 2017). Therefore without proper attention the problem will not only not go away. It will continue to escalate.
Cyberbullying itself is not currently a crime. In fact there is no federal law that addresses bullying at all. Each U.S. state can have their own bullying laws in place that are against things like threats of physical violence. Specific situations must be searched individually (Specific State Laws Against Bullying, 2017). In the book “Why We Hate” Levin suggests that hate speech has become a part of popular entertainment culture. It could be that cyber bullies not only allude punishment, but could possibly feel rewarded by the reactions they receive.
In an attempt to combat bullying reading material and programs have been released. Most material written to educate about the prevention of cyberbullying is directed to parents and school facility teaching them to recognize the signs and symptoms of children who may be victims. The idea is for adults to be able to intervene situations early on before the child can fall to any serious harm.
Another possible solution suggested by experts is that bullies need to be trained and taught the consequences of their actions. Some researchers say that if cyberbullies are made aware of the damage they are inflicting it will encourage them to stop (Rogers, 2010. p.13). Maybe, if only someone had told Jeffery Dohmer that people don’t like to be eaten- that would have saved a load of lives.
If merely making people aware, however, that they are possibly causing harm is the solution, how does this explain cyberbullies who seem to be intentionally causing harm? Many cyberbully messages encourage victims to kill themselves. It is reasonable to assume that these particular bullies are intending harm.
As nice as the notion of raising a kinder generation sounds, it is an overly simplistic solution. It also does nothing to help current victims of abuse. There is also no way to make sure every child is brought up in a way that will ensure they will not become an inflictor of this type of abuse. This sole solution is too dependent on change being made by a person who is not being injured in the situation. It is too depended on a person who may feel there is no need for any sort of change.
If a possible reason that bullies are created is because kids do not feel empowered, it would be much more important to teach victims how they can empower themselves, instead of having parents and administration be the only solution to the problem.
This is especially significant with internet being such an unlawful unchecked place.