In a recent article from the New York Daily News I read that State lawmakers are expected to pass New York’s first law addressing the growing problem of cyber-bullying. This has been an interesting topic to watch grow over the past few years. As technology changes, so does the social issues we are all commonly faced with–such as ‘cyber bullying’. Like many of you, I was bullied at some point in time growing-up and I will even go on to say I have been bullied as an adult. It was good old fashioned face-to-face bullying. whether it was the playground or my route I walked to school, there always seemed to be a bully. The bully and I talked and sometimes fought. Eventually the bully moved on, found a new target or got in trouble. So why now do we need laws to govern cyber bullying? Will this be one more burden on our courts, the police, and our schools? Are parents getting parenting help from the government because we can’t seem to handle the issues ourselves?
Let me say–nobody deserves to be bullied. However, any honest, educated, and experienced adult will tell you bullies have been around forever and they are not going anywhere. Even The Bible was addressing bullies centuries ago-“Envy rots the bones” Proverbs 14:30 and “Pride only breeds quarrels”Proverbs 13:10. Oh, and don’t forget Cain, the original bully that took out his own brother over their issues.
So, is there another way to govern YOUR child’s Facebook page and iPhone without the intrusion of the government? How about a bit more involvement on the front end. In this day and age, parents need to be in the trenches with their children. They should have full access to any/all multi-media their kids possess. Some would argue (and do argue) kids have rights! Maybe so, but what happens in your house and on the devices you finance for your kids should have no expectation of privacy. We cannot continue to try and fix social/human issues by creating go-nowhere laws and government help. We need to fix the problem not by finding the answers, but by asking the right questions. Social media and cell providers are on the hook for this just as much as the bullies and the parents. When was the last big anti-bullying campaign by a social networking site or cell providers? Could a sliver of their multi-billion dollar industry go back to education, prevention, and awareness on the topic? Can their be more ‘parent’ apps to aid in monitoring access to mobile and computer devices?
Good food for thought as technology continues to evolve and humans continue to have conflict. How our children handle conflict is slowly becoming a perishable skill. This dependency on (CMC) computer mediated communication will continue to cripple their ability to communicate at work, school, and in everyday situations where conflict is of the norm.
About the Author– Cameron Knauerhaze is the former CSI Board President and current member of the CSI Council. He is a Orange County, CA Police Sergeant with 16 years experience in patrol, investigations, and community policing. He has a Master’s Degree in Communications from Gonzaga University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Emergency Management from Cal State University Long Beach.