The recent rage in the news was all about cyberbullying after what happened at Rutgers and ACJC. Do our laws prevent bullying?
It does to an extent but not totally. Some of the problems include defining what bullying is, so that becomes one area that legislation finds difficulty in legislating.
What makes cyberbullying attract more attention? Because the power of the media can create a dangerous weapon in the wrong hands.
A child driving a 3-tonne truck is a much different proposition from a child with a tricycle. Likewise, a child with the ability to post content for the world to see is a much different proposition from the kid at the playground calling names.
So what should be done? Should we wait for another Tyler Clementi incident before we act?
I think this is one area where the law can take a backseat but our educators take the lead role.
Just like we have dress codes and other codes of conduct in school (like punctuality and politeness), it is time to develop a code for proper cyber-behaviour. This need not rely on penal statutes to be enacted (just like wearing the proper dresscode is not legislated) but gives educators the flexibility to apply discretion and to apply punishment on a level fitting the indiscretion.