The time has come for people to wise-up. Despite the media outcry for harsher laws, there is no such thing as “cyberbullying” and it’s well past time people owned up to that fact. Here is an important thing to remember:
Yes, Canada and all civilized places already have laws about harassing and threatening behaviour. We all have laws about telling lies in public, whether spoken (slander) or written (libel). These are laws that are well-established, and well-tested in court. All that remains is to apply them to behaviour on the internet… something that has been done many times.
That someone uses the internet as a medium instead of, say, the newspaper or radio is a matter of choice. That the internet is ubiquitous may be a mitigating factor when assessing damage, but the criminal or uncivil act itself is no different. There are legal tests for harassment, for threats, for slander and for libel. We do not need new laws.
In fact, making a new law is likely to create larger problems – it creates two classes of the same criminal issue. Take out a libellous ad in the local paper and you’re naughty. Post that ad from your iPad and it’s somehow a greater crime? The only winners in that kind of scenario are lawyers.
Just because you feel bad about something another person posted on the internet does not necessarily make that person a bad person, nor does it make you a victim.
Yes! Something does need to be done. Three somethings, in fact:
No. No you shouldn’t. The belief that you should is a self-centred entitlement, and it is wrong. Behaving how you want, within the bounds of law is for private spaces, away from the eyes (and cameras) of others. If you’re in public (and that’s anywhere there is a camera that you don’t personally control) you have an onus to behave in a manner that is appropriate for public consumption. The public will see and judge you based on your behaviour. If you’re not willing to stand up and be proud of your actions in public, then don’t do them.
This is a lesson that needs to be taught to all children, and seemingly most adults.
Follow this rule, and your chance of being a “victim” of “cyberbullying” goes way, way down.