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Regulations to Save Lives

Last week I discussed whether trolling and cyberbullying was getting out of control and ways society can combat this issue. One avenue that I believe would make a huge difference is putting regulations in place. Disciplining those who are bullying others online can start to prevent the consequences that online bullying can have.

“Researchers at the Universities of Oxford, Swansea and Birmingham reviewed previous studies on cyberbullying which involved more than 150,000 under-25s across 30 countries over a 21-year period. They found that cyberbullying raised the risk of self-harm or suicidal behaviour 2.3 times.”

The Telegraph, 2018

Negative comments online and cyberbullying can sometimes lead to self-harm and even suicide as a coping mechanism for the harassment they receive and the impact it has on their mental health. If there were strict laws and regulations, cyberbullying can be prevented and hopefully this horrific figure can be dramatically decreased.

Without any direct cyberbullying laws, only those such as the Communications Act of 2003 can be applied. Other bullying laws cover only limited types of bullying, including violence or assault, theft, repeated harassment or intimidation and hate crimes. These can be reported to the police and action can be taken. However, unless cyberbullying is taken off the screen and into the real world, then nothing can be done… yet!

Social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, don’t do anything about cyberbullying and their users continue to suffer with mental health and self deprecation issues. I will never understand why people feel the need to put others down through trolling and bullying both celebrities and normal people like you and me, but unfortunately it happens. Without the support of social media sites, the Government are the next best step by creating laws and regulations to combat trolling and cyberbullying.

Recently, Mrs Hinch (a social media ‘cleanfluencer’) shared a petition which she believed would make a huge difference in the way online harassment is dealt with. She has been affected by trolling and has the ability to share this petition to her wide audience to hopefully make a difference. The petition aims to “Hold online trolls accountable for their online abuse via their IP address”. If a troll’s account is shut down, a new one can be started up regardless, so by tracking IP addresses, it is easier to put a stop to this harassment. This petition has 132,691 signatures so will be taken to parliament shortly. This is a huge step forward in putting a stop to trolling and cyberbullying but obviously if this became a law, it would not be enough.

People need to be held accountable for their actions, if bullying and harassment is wrong and illegal offline then shouldn’t it be the same online?

Let me know what else you think should be done? Is this petition enough or will it not even make a dent? Drop me a comment, I would love to hear from you!

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Phoebe
    November 25, 2019 at 3:37 pm

    I totally agree! Bullying should be made illegal online.
    However, it is so difficult to prosecute people of online crimes as they are so many avenues the crime could take. Therefore, creating laws with regard to cyberbullying is extremely hard as no one Act to include all elements in which cybering could include as it is a constantly developing crime which no laws could keep up with.

    Although, the criminal justice system should start with making laws and regulations with regards to the social media companies themselves, to make them liable to what occurs on their sites.

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