by Emily D '11

Cyber Bullying

Cyber bullying is a form of harassment, embarrassment, or torment using a website like Facebook or instant messenger. Unlike other forms of harassment, cyber bullying is not illegal in the state of New York, cyber bullies can just walk away. The thing that makes cyber bullying a major problem is that the bully can do it secretly. So even if there were laws to stop them, you might never find the person to stop.
People might do it to stand up for themselves or their friends, that’s why Argina Girsang a ninth grader at BSGE did it to a girl who was harassing her friend. Other times it is meant as a joke, sometimes kids sign on a different screen name, then im one of their friends and don’t tell them who they are. They say things like “I know who you are” and “I know where you go to school.” But even that leaves certain kids with the fear that the person isn’t someone they know.
Some cyber bullies, however, are worse. Noelle Cotti also a student at BSGE started to receive messages from another screen name; she didn’t know who it was. But the messages increased, and she could barely log on without the person sending a message. They began to ask her if she had a camera for her computer so that they could video chat. She said “No” and continued to say “No” as the cyber bully continued to ask. Soon the conversation turned ugly and the person began to torment her with messages like “You are an idiot and I hope your entire family dies.” Noelle blocked the screen name and never found out who it was.
Some people will push even farther. Ryan Halligan, a 13 year old living in Vermont was being cyber bullied by the kids also harassing him at school. Ryan’s father had no clue that all of this was happening until October 7, 2003 when Ryan hung himself. After Ryan’s death his father, John Halligan went through Ryan’s computer and found multiple e-mails and messages harassing Ryan. The abuse and harassment was so bad that Ryan believed the only way to get back at the kids responsible was to kill himself. “He wanted to make the kids harassing him feel guilty,” explained his father. Also on the computer, Mr. Halligan found one last message. In it Ryan had decided that he was going to kill himself and told the bullies, he said “Tonight is the night.” The response he got was “It’s about time.” Now it is possible that the bullies didn’t believe Ryan and only said that thinking it wouldn’t be taken seriously. If they hadn’t made that last comment, would Ryan have gone through with it? If Noelle hadn’t continually responded to the messages she was sent would the outcome still have been the same? How far is too far?


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