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    Harassment extends to technological medium

    Harassment extends to technological medium

    By Cassie Smith

    Facebook and other social networking sites are becoming more and more prominent in high school and so are the problems that accompany them.

    Students have been personally affected by one major problem, cyber-bullying. Cyber-Bullying is the sending of threats or lewd comments via any electronic device. These days cyber-bullying is becoming more common.
    “I see it through Facebook on peoples’ walls, all over stupid things that should not have been started,” sophomore Matt Jones said.

    Cases are popping up in the news of high school students committing suicide and other acts of violence due to today’s social networks. Social networks such as Facebook were created for people to share things about themselves, however, some students have been directly victimized by others or have witnessed it happening to their peers.

    For example, Megan Meier committed suicide by hanging in 2006. Megan was 13 years old when she was sent lewd and harassing voice messages from a 21-year-old woman.

    “My best friend was bullied by her ex-boyfriend through text messages, Facebook, and Myspace. Finally she told her parents. It turned into something bigger than a break up,” sophomore Katelynn Moody said.

    What people these days do not realize is how serious these acts really are and how they can affect the rest of their lives. A threat to do bodily harm through electronic devices is a felony. Harassment, such as name-calling and cursing is identified as a misdemeanor.

    “People start rumors that are not true and say rude things that they would not say in person,” junior Anthony Jackson said.

    “More teens are so used to the texting and social networking that they can not solve problems or find it hard to talk face to face. They get the confidence of being behind a computer and do not understand that once you send something electronically, you can not take it back. These matters end up leading to fights,” sophomore Taylor Chiasson said.

    The Code of Virginia states that harassment by computer is when any person with the intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass any person by use of a computer or computer network to communicate obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language, or make any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature or threaten any illegal or immoral act shall be guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.
    The punishment associated with a class 1 misdemeanor is up to a $2500 fine and/or up to 12 months in jail.

    The Code of Virginia also states that threats to do bodily harm in a writing, which includes electronically, transmitted communication producing a visual or electronic message is a class 6 felony.

    The punishment for a class 6 felony is 1 to 5 years in jail and/or a $2500 fine. Most students are not aware that when applying for a job or college, they are required to make them aware of any arrests.

    “If you do not like a certain person do not add them to your friends, or talk to them. Do not do anything on these sites that could cause problems,” Chiasson said.

    There have been cases in the past of cyber-bullying which have transformed into something far worse than it seemed. Bullying used to be a simple name-call. Individuals now must face threats, fights, and more tragically, suicide.

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    • C

      Conner StevensonJan 14, 2011 at 9:58 pm

      we have all seen the drama of Facebook as well as all of the other social networks. There really is no way to stop it. People will always find something to pick at due to insecurities that they have about themselves.

    • T

      Tessa AllenJan 14, 2011 at 9:33 pm

      Drama will always exist, I just think Facebook and the like have made it more accessible for cowards that normally would not start anything. It is pathetic that people hurt others through the internet and it disgusts me. This is a great article about an exceedingly important issue.

    • J

      Jessica TaylorJan 2, 2011 at 3:15 pm

      I personally have never been a victim of cyber bullying, but I know people that have been. I think it is pathetic and the people that do it need to find something better to do with their time. It all goes back to the saying “do unto others as you wish done unto you.”

    • O

      Olivia TritschlerDec 8, 2010 at 8:08 am

      Bullying is a major problem in all schools and it can be found in Prince George. With new technology and social networking sites, bullying has been taken to a whole new level! I agree with what Jessica Marshall said about how if you can’t say something to some’s face, you shouldn’t say it at all. But take that a step further and if you can’t say something nice, then you don’t have to say it. Gossip and rumors spread extremely quickly and for some people they can tune it out and not care what is said about them, but words can be harmful.

    • J

      Jessica MarshallNov 7, 2010 at 6:31 pm

      This seems to be a problem popping up everywhere and it’s ridiculous. Recents events of cyberbullying have hit prince george and this article came just in time. If you cannot say something to someone’s face, you shouldn’t say anything at all.

    • M

      Malikah WilliamsNov 7, 2010 at 5:29 pm

      I have to agree with Rachel Waymack. This is a well timed article. People need to realize that their actions on the internet never disappear and can have a lasting impact on a person. Also it can hinder them from success later on in life.

    • J

      Jamar JohnsonNov 7, 2010 at 5:16 pm

      The cyber world is on the rise. There is a movie about Facebook in theaters and cyber bullying is rising steadily. Cyber bullying is a problem that adults do not know how to handle. I hear people say “But it’s freedom of speech” alot now-a-days. Let’s be realistic and say we have a limited freedom of speech since there are limitiations on what we can say. Cyber-bullying is for low-lifes. Cyber-bullies obviously can’t say the things they write to the person’s face. If people start to rag on you, block them. Nothing they say will ever pop up again unless someone else posts it. Then you just block them too. Another solution is to report the person to Facebook administration. There are buttons you can press that allows you to stop cyber-bullying.

    • J

      Joseph P.Nov 7, 2010 at 4:57 pm

      Some people have, to an effect, split personalities. In person they can be quiet or never say anything bad to someone, even act nice to them, but then when they get online, they completely change and say whatever they please. This isn’t restricted to facebook or texting. If you go on a site such as Youtube, you can find the most ridiculous comments and people. I’ve had a person attempt to verbally attack me on youtube and it was just dumb. You could tell that this person would never be saying these things in person, but behind the computer screen they felt invincible.

    • C

      Carrie YoungNov 7, 2010 at 3:06 pm

      I thought it was kind of ironic that this came out when all this Burn Book stuff is going on. It amazes me at how mean someone can be to another person online when you know they would never say that in person.

    • R

      Rachel ArnoldNov 7, 2010 at 2:36 pm

      I think it’s sad that some people are so shallow that they would post something on a person’s Facebook wall before actually confronting that person. Luckily many sites allow you to report misuse, but many people still fail to do so. Also, I had no idea that the consequences of cyber bullying were so intense. People should take the time to calm down before they go and post something that they can’t take back.

    • L

      Lexie TaylorNov 7, 2010 at 12:59 pm

      I completely agree with this. Teenagers today are getting used to hiding behind a computer. Things such as formspring, honesty box, and truth box make it even easier to do this. The option to be completely anonymous just makes things worse and people don’t realize the affect it will have on the other person.

    • M

      Madison GuidryNov 7, 2010 at 10:43 am

      This article had perfect timing. People that cyber bully are ridiculous. If you cannot say it to their face, you don’t deserve to say it at all. I hope all cyber bullies realize how pathetic they are. I think all the drama on facebook is just annoying. It was designed to be a place to interact with others. When ever I sign on now, it is like the same three people starting stuff. I don’t understand how people can tlak over the internet but not in person.

    • J

      Joshua KentNov 7, 2010 at 8:54 am

      This article came out just in time. I don’t realize why people have the confidence to same something bad about someone when their sitting behind a computer screen but in reality they’re probably laking ethe self confidence needed to even talk to that person. I think this cyber bullying thing his rediculously stupid because someone got their feelings hurt, they find it apropriate to ruin someone else’s life via internet.

    • R

      Raya GirardNov 7, 2010 at 4:22 am

      This article hit close to home with me because my sister has been harassed by text messaging for the last year and my parents had to get one number blocked. It is really scary because you don’t know how far that person will be willing to go to hurt her. What is even more odd is that the people who harass by computer or cell phone will say things like I love you in one sentence then call people bad names and say lewd things in the next comment. The people who harass seem mentally ill. Teachers and friends told her to just ignore this harasser because he had a bad home life situation. Fortunately, when she got to Clements and the number got blocked the situation improved.

    • R

      rachel waymackNov 6, 2010 at 11:28 pm

      This is a well-timed article, with all of the “burn books” popping up on facebook. Students need to realize that what they post online 1. is easily accessible and 2.can have major consequences not just for others (hurt feelings, embarrassment, etc.) but also for themselves (not getting accepted for a job or college, legal actions against them, etc.)

    • D

      Devan AndrewsNov 6, 2010 at 8:14 am

      Personally, I believe that cyber-bullying is much deeper than say a feud or a series of crude threats and remarks. It can range from fraud (Someone pretending to be another person, thus shifting the blame onto someone else) to blackmail (Through means of hacking into someone’s private information) to even complete cyber-social death (Completely erasing someone’s social contacts online and all of their information). Cyber-bullying, when perpetrated by someone with extensive computer discipline, can utterly destroy someone’s online presence(Just with a simple hack into, say, someone’s Facebook profile), in addition to the mental/emotional imprint on their lives.