Technology is profuse with benefits to society. The Internet provides students with endless research opportunities, various different learning perspectives, and communicative and collaborative spaces that were never before possible. There’s no doubt that the Internet is a powerful tool, but if that power is not handled responsibly the consequences can be dire.
Have you or someone you know ever been on the receiving end of a mean or embarrassing text message? Have you ever had a rumor spread about you on social media? This is cyberbullying. Over fifty percent of adolescents have experienced some form of this online bullying, and about the same number have participated in this harmful behavior. According to The Cyberbullying Research Center, over 80 percent of teenagers use a cellphone regularly. It makes sense, then, that the cellphone is the most popular medium of technology used for cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is a global problem. Adolescents and children who are the victims of cyberbullying are more likely to skip school, use alcohol and drugs, get poor grades, have lower self-esteem and have more health problems than their peers. Sometimes, cyberbullying even leads to suicide. Despite the severity, there is not currently a national law in place to control cyberbullying. States and lawmakers have taken it amongst themselves to put an end to cyberbullying. Many states have enacted both laws and policies. The unmarked states on the map below have addressed cyberbullying in this manner. The states that have taken a different approach are labeled with a marker below.