14 February 2013
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Cyberbullying: A Matter of Mass Concern


What does it take to become a terrorist? Is there any age limit defined for it?

When a 14-year-old Jersey City boy was arrested from his home against a search warrant by local police on charges of harassment and threatening two 12-year-old boys via the social networking site, Facebook, the news took the mainstream media by a shockwave, and left Internet pundits and parents mulling. What propelled him to do so? The cause was fearsome. He did it because the victims have liked his girlfriend.

The boy had addressed victims as “a punk,” “gay,” and “fat,” on the social networking site, disclosed acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murphy in a report in NBC New York. Coming to brutality, he threatened one of them of severe consequences by tying him to a pole, attaching a rope and hooking it to his stomach, and thereafter tying him to his car and driving off to tear his body.

Thankfully parents of the victims came to know of the incidents, and notified it to Belleville police. The preliminary investigation showed that the teens targeted were not known to the other side personally.

This case comes just days after President Barack Obama held a White House conference on bullying. According to the White House, approximately 13 million students are bullied every year.

Educating kids is the only way to check cyber bullying. They should restrict from revealing personal information like full name, age, gender, address, email address, etc. to any strangers on the Web. In case they are approached by strangers, they should block them using the various privacy or security features of social networking or forum websites. In repeated harassment, one should report it to the portal’s moderator or owner.

Playing a role of responsible parent or peer, you can check bullying in all formats including cyber bullying, which has engrossed 33 percent of the teenagers in the US alone, as projected by a 2011 Pew Internet and American Life Survey. In the attempt, the most important step would be to bring kids in the comfort zone so that they can share everything crossing the barrier of fear, insecurity, or shame. Explain them clearly the definition of cyber bullying, and steps for prevention.

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My name is Anurag Sharma.
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