"Benefits and disadvantages to criminalising cyber-bullying", by Liam Aierstock (15)

Foróige-Notinuse's picture
Foróige-Notinuse July 11, 2013

A new report being delivered to the Government recommends that cyberbullying would become a crime. I think that before actually passing it as a law that by breaking it you can be prosecuted, levels of severity need to be set first. Currently cyberbullying can be defined as anything that appears negative on the internet, even something childish such as calling your friend stupid. There needs to be a definition which defines the type or severity of the cyberbullying in the circumstance. Technically speaking this should lower the number of suicides caused by cyberbullying and lower the number of young people with cyberbullying related illnesses. 

I am not sure how any government plans on taking on such a widespread problem. The internet's infrastructure is so impossibly large that it would be near impossible to prosecute each and every person who committed an act of cyberbullying. As with young people my age being convicted, there is a question as to what sort of sentences would be given. Can you imagine a 10 year old being imprisoned for making use of the word 'fa***t' because he wasn't sure of its meaning and wanted to see its effect? I do think that young people need to be shown how serious cyberbullying can be; but certainly not in this way. 

By making it illegal you are only creating more problems, the people who are cyberbullying and don't want to get caught will always find another way to reach their victims. I was personally cyberbullied when i was younger, because of the fact that i was overweight, wore glasses and happened to be good at subjects like English and Maths. I think it's personally made me slightly stronger and more resistant to bullying today, however I know that this is not always the case. 

It is extremely sad and devastating that people go so far as to taking their own lives because of cyberbullying. However, I don't think that making it illegal will have a positive effect on those being bullied, or even a negative effect on the bullies themselves. It still takes place everywhere else such as in the playground, it is one of those things that is inevitable in the end, especially on the internet. 

I think that other ways of getting tougher on cyberbullies such as awareness classes in school and real life stories will have a much greater effect on the situation as a whole. After all smoking, drinking and sex is illegal for young people my age; yet look at how many still do it.


Liam Aierstock is 15. He is a rower, singer and guitarist who is mildly obsessed with sloths and alpacas! You can follow him at @liamaierstock