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Cyber Bullying Should Be a Criminal Offence: Argumentative Essay

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Currently, the Internet has touched every aspect of human life, easily connect people around the world, and easily provide a variety of information to all levels of society with a click of a button. But the popularity of the Internet has also seen unforeseen cybercrime, Cyberbullying is one of these. Due to the virtual nature of the online world, the high degree of anonymity has led to a day-to-day increase in cyberbullying. Accordingly, this makes it possible for many net citizens to gather in a short period of time every cyberbullying begins, and indiscriminate attacks on the victims of bullying, causing great psychological damage to the victims, and even commit suicide in serious cases. If these activities can have legal control, the cyberbullying phenomenon may be ameliorated. On the other hand, some people think that cyberbullying legislation will limit people's freedom of speech. Based on the objectivity of thinking questions, this article will consider the issues from the perspective of supporters and opponents, thus explaining why cyberbullying should be considered a criminal offence.

Cyberbullying is defined as the use of information technology and communication technologies that exceed limits to compromise a person's reputation, mentality or humiliation of a person (Shivashankar and Rajan, 2018). It is as traumatic as traditional bullying. The only difference is that in traditional bullying, the victim can escape physical damage and seek help from others. But in cyberbullying, ubiquitous attack information is completely It can be said that except for the actual physical damage, the other injuries are equal, anyone who harms to others should be considered a criminal offence. According to the research Bullying, Cyberbullying, and Suicide results (Hinduja et al. 2010) from the Academic journal of the International Academy for Suicide Research, this is an international journal in the field devoted to suicide research. Studies have shown that suicide is associated with bullying, whether it is traditional bullying or cyberbullying. The results of the study showed a significant increase in respondents who had suffered peer attacks and attempted suicide. It can be seen that cyberbullying has caused tremendous harm to the victim's mentality and is serious enough to commit suicide. This behaviour should not be ignored anymore and should be regarded as a criminal offence.

Cyberbullying could lead to unbearable mental stress, and the bullied person is beginning to suffer from depression and even suicides, and such incidents have been continuous. In 2006, the famous bullying incident in the United States – 'Megan' incident; a 13 years old girl, Megan Meier, is often ridiculed and insulted because of her obesity. Later, Megan got to know a boy named Josh on the Internet. At first, Josh said she was very beautiful. Six weeks later, Josh suddenly changed her face and said that she was despicable, her friends thought she was very dirty after that many people have joined the online atrocities and insulted her as “fatso” and “whore”. After experiencing cyberbullying, she chose to commit suicide because she could not stand the malicious insult. However, although the culprit of this incident has been basically determined to be a middle-aged woman, Lori Drew. But the police refused to sue because there was no legal compliance. According to Hinduja et al. review the relationship between bullying, cyberbullying, and suicide (Hinduja et al., 2010). The authors use data gained through a survey of middle school students in the United States, to identify whether the experience of bullying and cyberbullying is related to an increase in the rate of attempted suicide among adolescents. The survey from the journal, results show that cyberbullying victims are 1.5 times more likely to commit suicide than non-cyberbullying victims. 'Megan' incident, the previous example mentioned that in the case of confirming the initiator, it is impossible to sue because there is no legal regulation. Therefore, in order to prevent such a tragedy from happening again, it is necessary to enact legislation to prohibit cyberbullying to facilitate addressing the problem.

Although legislation on cyberbullying is difficult to define, regulatory compliance can limit the growth of cyberbullying. For the time being, few countries adopt clear laws to regulate the harm caused by cyberbullying. However, in 1999 the United States enacted the first anti-bullying law, it has been nearly 20 years since today. After 2009, anti-bullying laws spread throughout the United States. The government provides reporting channels, students and teachers are required to report incidents, and serious bullying incidents directly expel students and criminal penalties (Bullying Laws Across America, 2019). Although anti-cyberbullying laws may not completely and effectively eliminate cyberbullying, this law let people know that attacking others on the Internet is also subject to legal sanctions. According to Purdy et al., their research found out the difficulty of the government in responding to the growing and complex cyberbullying problem in the absence of clear guidance and measures. In conclusion, they are an urgent appeal to the government to provide legal and policy frameworks to avoid and respond to cyberbullying (Purdy, 2003). Therefore, even if the legislation does not effectively eliminate cyberbullying, however, after legislation, cyberbullying was established as a crime to avoid such incidents.

There is no legal definition of cyberbullying within UK law, for this reason, that the incidence of cyberbullying in the UK continues to grow. Under a survey of UK cyberbullying situation from the Diana Award, the study found that 38% of young people are affected by cyberbullying. At the same time, the organization also recommended that the British government implement and regularly review cyberbullying policies. In some case, let the cyberbullying implementer sign the practice agreement and self-regulation (Tarapdar and Kellett, 2011). The survey also showed that half of the young people believe that cyberbullying occurs outside the school rather than within the school. After leaving school, they will do so even if you have your parents' protection. Because the attacks on the network cannot see them, you cannot get rid of it. There is no legal regulation in the official, so the 'keyboarder' is more desperate to attack others, thus cyberbullying urgently requires legal and effective policies to control.

In addition, according to Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats (Willard, 2005) pointed out seven patterns of cyberbullying; 1. Flaming, 2. Online Harassment, 3. Stalking, 4. Denigration, 5. Masquerade, 6. Outing, 7. Exclusion. These items have more or less touched the law, such as the Protection from Harassment Act and the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act. Fortunately, on April 8, 2019, the British government issued the 'White Paper on Cyber ​​Crisis' (GOV.UK, 2019), a proposal for cybersecurity, requiring legislation to strengthen self-regulation and independence of social networking platforms. A network regulator will be established that will review online platforms that monitor inappropriate information and impose fines. Inappropriate information includes cyberbullying. According the reviewed about nature of cyber-bullying, definitions, scope and negative consequences (Langos, 2013), the authors of the final results point out that many jurisdictions are now working hard to demonstrate the form of management, whose evolving nature has reached an agreement with the appropriate response of the state to limit its spread and reduce the harmful effects of cyberbullying. It can be seen that cyberbullying has gained the attention of the government; the government also wants to find a suitable way to avoid it. In this way, cyberbullying that causes serious mental harm should be considered a criminal offence.

However, after the adoption of cyberbullying laws in New Zealand, media organizations have expressed strong opinions that they believe that this legislation may impose restrictions on freedom of speech (Jones, 2015). But freedom of speech is not equal to linguistic attack. Freedom of speech refers to the expression of one's own opinions, and cyberbullying is the use of language to attack and abuse others. And according to New Zealand's guidelines for cyberbullying legislation; The second refers to inciting others to commit suicide. If the victim does not commit suicide, the New Zealand government will ask the relevant website to delete such harmful information. First, cyberbullying refers to sending a malicious message or Posting it on the Internet and doing so. The second refers to inciting others to commit suicide. If the victim does not commit suicide, the New Zealand government will ask the relevant website to delete such harmful information (Jones, 2015). These two guidelines have rationally explained how cyberbullying should be convicted. On the basis of these legislations and grounds, cyberbullying is a criminal act.

All in all, the focus of this article is an overview of the various reasons why cyberbullying should be considered a crime. Discuss the nature of cyberbullying and the problems it raises, as well as issues that are not regulated by law. This has cyberbullying laws and how they define crime. In addition, from another angle, the legislation on cyberbullying has not dried up people's freedom of speech. Thus, it is determined that cyberbullying does cause serious harm to others and therefore cyberbullying should be considered a criminal offence.


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Cyberbullying Research Centre. (2019). Bullying and Cyberbullying Laws Across America. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 May 2019].

GOV.UK. (2019). Online Harms White Paper. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 May 2019].

Hinduja, S. and W. Patchin, J. (2010). Bullying, Cyberbullying, and Suicide, Archives of Suicide Research. [pdf] Taylor & Francis Ltd, pp.206-221.

Available at: [Accessed 6 April 2019].

Jones, N. (2015). Controversial cyberbullying law passes. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 May 2019].

Langos, C. (2013). Cyberbullying, associated harm and the criminal law. [pdf] University of South Australia. Available at: [Accessed 8 April 2019].

Shivashankar, B. and Rajan, A. (2018). A Critical Analysis of Cyber Bullying in India-with Special Reference to Bullying in College. [pdf] International Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics, pp.1811-1822. Available at: [Accessed 8 May 2019].

Tarapdar, Saima and Kellett, Mary (2011). Young people’s voices on cyber bullying: what can age comparisons tell us. Diana Award. [pdf] London: The Open University. Available at: [Accessed 4 May 2019].

Purdy, N. and Mc Guckin, C. (2003). Cyberbullying and The Law. [pdf] pp.23. Available at: [Accessed 6 April 2019].

Willard, N. (2005). Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats. [pdf] Washington: OSDFS National Conference, p.1. Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2019].

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