Cyber-bullying has continued to grow as social media takes on a greater role in many people’s day to day lives. Freed from even the tenuous accountability of bullying a person to his or her face, cyber-bullies have become a massive problem for children and in some cases for adults, too. A school or workplace can become a nightmare when bullies have access and seemingly a free rein to spew vile abuse and hatred online. Unsurprisingly, the victims of cyber-bullying are all too frequently members of the groups that have been targeted in America for generations: females, members of ethnic and racial minorities, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities.
A new tool was recently released called Crash Override which purports to be a support network group offering assistance to victims of online bullying. Crash Override is intended to help people regain control of their online lives and respond to online harassment effectively. While it’s much too soon to know if Crash Override will be effective in its mission, it is a positive step that more people are recognizing what a serious and growing concern online harassment has become.
We have been fighting for years to force New Jersey school boards to investigate and respond to cyber-bullying. For decades, all forms of bullying were largely ignored by school systems and the victims were left without recourse. Even as efforts grew to combat bullying, the fastest growing form of it was largely ignored by schools. It is a developing area of the law that needs more, not less attention from schools. Children should feel safe in their schools and in their home lives. Cyber-bullying and all forms of harassment take that safety away and cause lifelong damage. More tools intended to address online harassment and bullying of all forms is a good thing.
Source: The Christian Science Monitor, “Online harassment targets strike back against abusers. Will it work?,” by Jessica Mendoza, 20 January 2015