Making Cyberbullying a Criminal Offense

Decent Essays
“Even in death, Phoebe Prince was bullied” (Kennedy). That was the headline when a FaceBook page dedicated to Prince was hacked and filled with hurtful and derogatory comments about her. Phoebe was a regular teen that was cyber bullied to the extent that she couldn’t take it anymore. Her body was found in a stairwell, and at 15 years old, Phoebe hanged herself. Although cyberbullying is a vague concept to many, it should be made a criminal offense because it is causing suicides for youth, government intervention is the only solution, and the bully should be punished instead of the victim. Being a recent issue, cyberbullying has seriously been taken for granted by society. Not only is it real and hurtful, but it is also leading to suicide as a result, especially for youth. From a survey taken by the Cyberbullying Research Center, 20% of around 2000 respondents reported seriously thinking about attempting suicide, and 19% did (Hinduja/Patchin). This means that one out of every five kids has been cyber bullied to such an extreme that life is no longer considered livable, or even bearable. One of these kids was Ryan Patrick Halligan, a regular teen living in Essex Junction, Vermont (Halligan). Unfortunately, he was repeatedly sent instant messages from his classmates accusing him of being gay, and was threatened, taunted, and insulted relentlessly. On October 7, 2003, at the age of 13, Ryan hanged himself while his family was asleep. The internet can humiliate and tip a person
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