On 3rd May 2017, a student who studies at TARUC committed suicide because of cyberbullying. Even though his friends were successful persuade him to give up suicidal thoughts temporarily but at last, he still decided to end his life. This news astonished everyone and started to notice the problem of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying means the activity of using the internet to harm or frighten another person. (Cambridge Dictionary online, n.d.). Cyberbullying can call a stealth killer because it causes fatal cases to occur. Examples of fatal cases are commit suicide, murder, and manslaughter. In fact, there are a lot of types and meanings of cyberbullying such as exclusion and harassment is the most serious which is persistently sending offensive and malicious messages to the victim online. Research show in 2018, our country ranked 2nd in the Asia bullying ranking and ranked 6th of 26 countries that have cyberbullying cases. However, everyone has their own perspective on this issue. Hence, it is empirical to include legal, victims, psychological, and bullies to look into should cyberbullying be considered to be a criminal offense.
Cyberbullying should be considered a criminal offense to constrain the action of the bully through penalty or jail so that the cases will be decreased. For example, the United Kingdom is no legal definition of cyberbullying in their laws. However, there are a number of existing laws that can be applied to cases of cyberbullying, like the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, Malicious Communications Act 1988, Communications Act 2003, Breach of the Peace (Scotland), and Defamation Act 2013.
In Malaysia, laws that can charge under cyberbullying cases are Computer Crimes Act 1997. Section Three: Unauthorized access to computer materials. If convicted, the offender is liable to a fine of not more than RM50,000 or a prison term of not more than five years. Section Five: unauthorized modification to contents. If convicted, the offender is liable to a fine of not more than RM100,000 or a prison term of not more than seven years. Besides, Communication and Multimedia is also a law for cyberbullying. Act Section 223: Improper use of network facilities or network services. Under this section, any comment which sounds obscene is false, menacing, or offensive in character with the intent to threaten another person to commit an offense. Lastly, Legal must provide more protection from online dangers. Therefore, people can be at ease using Facebook, Instagram, and other social media to post their thoughts while not being cyberbullied.
Cyberbullying causes more harm to people than that normal face-to-face. According to The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry (2016), the speed at which harmful messages can reach a large size of the audience through the internet also plays a major part in making cyberbullying so damaging to the victims. The size of the audience that is able to view or access those harmful messages will increase the victim’s humiliation by sharing out the massage with an untold number of people. Through cyberbullying, the identity of the bully is remaining anonymous and this will lead to great insecurity for the victim. There are cases that the victim is being bullied by their friends which is a serious problem because they might have more detailed pieces of information about the victim.
Victims might begin to believe everything bad that is said by other people and they might do something to hurt themselves. It has been well documented that cyberbullying has caused tragedy including suicide, and self-harm. According to JMIR Publication (2018), studies showed that, compared with non-victims, those who have been cyberbullied are 2.35 times as likely to self-harm, 2.10 times as likely to exhibit suicidal behavior and 2.57 times as likely to attempt suicide. Cyberbully causes serious harm to victims because of bully often misuse cyber resources in many ways to bully people online for their own satisfaction which badly influenced the victim.
In the position of psychologist, it has pros and cons for cyberbullying should be considered a crime. Cyberbullying should be considered a crime because it has influenced bullying the victim’s life was emphasized throughout all the interviews of an investigation (Samara, 2017). According to the survey by Brandwatch Research (2016), the majority of insults related broadly to intelligence and appearance. The practitioner psychologists felt that cyberbullying significantly contributed to psychopathology and directly influenced the psychological health of a victim. Therefore, the advantage of cyberbullying being considered a crime can help the victim to have a better life.
Besides, cyberbullying should not be considered criminal because punishment does not educate the bullies, they need to make psychological changes through psychological counseling. Society, teachers, and parents should solve the bullying epidemic through education, instead of the criminal justice system. We need to control social media and widespread awareness, not criminal prosecutions. It can be difficult to have sympathy for a bully, but if we can remember that victims and bullies are sometimes one and the same, we can give the support that they really need. Successful strategies to prevent bullying among disabled students include teachers and peers engaging in appropriate social interactions (Rose & Monda-Amaya, 2012). As a consequence, if cyberbullying not be considered a crime, the problems of cyberbullying can be reduced gradually through education.
From a bully's perspective, cyberbullying should not be considered a criminal offense because they may be victims too. They decide to act out maybe because bullied by others or having problems at home. According to Bullying Statistics, 54% of students who witness violence and abuse will probably become bullies (Bullying Facts, 2013). The bully might come from a family that lacks parents involvement. They use cyberbullying to attract their parents’ attention.
Bullies should look for consultation but not punishment. They will involve themselves in cyberbullying maybe because something bad happen to them so they used cyberbullying to show their sadness. They deserve forgiveness. They might also regret what they have done but society shuts them away. Richard Schwandt, a psychotherapist specializing said that hate and vengeance will only continue the destructive process the bully began. (Workplace Bullying Recovery, 2011). Society should depend on bullies’ mistakes. If they did a small mistake that did not cause serious problems, society should give them a chance because they are still young and able to learn. They should have a chance to put effort on themselves. They will have more hatred and it is hard for them to change their behaviors if choose to punish them. So, bullies need to have a voice. Take time to let them explain before deciding to criminate them.
Cyberbullying should be considered as a criminal offense. This is because when bullies started to write something online, they should know they need to take responsibility for their own actions and words. They cannot think that the actions they have done are just a joke and everyone must be accepting the jokes. However, some words they have used are ironic. As a matter of fact, these are personal attacks. All the people who had participated in this should accept the punishment.
On the other hand, the words and the actions will cause the litigant to feel uncomfortable and shame. Especially, bullies have put the litigant’s picture without asking permission and written some inelegant words. Maybe some people will think just a picture but the litigant will not. Then, other people will follow the bully to make a lot of negative comments. At this moment, those actions will cause the litigant to have psychological stress and gradually they also have mental problems, in serious will cause depression. In the end, the litigant cannot bear and choose to commit suicide. Therefore, the bully should understand the cases are caused by them, and they should get punishment even though they are a teenager.
In fact, a criminal offense is a type of wrongdoing that someone distinguishes from a civil wrong. Crimes are behaviors that society views as offending not just the specific victim, but also the sensibilities of society as a whole. (Janet,n.d.). Normally punishment for a criminal offense is either fine that may exceed RM 5000, imprisonment, or both of it. Actually, the punishments will reduce if they are under 18 years old. This type of punishment can give the bully a lesson to learn responsibility and also give the public a warning on this issue. Thus, Malaysia Law must add cyberbullying as a criminal offense. Furthermore, school authorities should educate teenagers to avoid them involve in cyberbullying cases. Lastly, schools should be more concerned about the students involved in cyberbullying. The reason for choosing this topic is because many people are losing their life nowadays due to cyberbullying so we think we need to attach importance to it.
Prevention is better than cure. Therefore, cyberbullying should consider a criminal offense in order to reduce cyberbullying that has risen. Besides, Malaysia should add punishment to punish those people who participate in cyberbullying. In addition, every life in this world is very precious, it is not something that can be controlled by others.