Bullying itself is not a new phenomenon, but today it’s more prevalent, anonymous, emotionally scarring or even deadly.
According to English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton, “the pen is mightier than the sword.” The proverb means that the power of thought and writing have more influence than the use of form and violence. Today, the stroke of a pen is very well similar to the tap of a button, as the power of social media has undeniably changed our lives – good or bad.
All of us are fond of using social networking sites to connect with anyone around the world. Cyber bullies are taking advantage of social networking sites to bully others not physically but emotionally. Cyberbullying is a serious issue and should not be taken lightly. Social media is made for good reasons and intentions and not to destroy a person. Social media has given bullies a more discreet way to cause harm to others.
Due to the development of our technology today, cyber-bullying has become one of the most difficult issues to resolve in our society. According to Nobullying.com, the Philippines is the fourth country in the world where cyberbullying is a serious issue. Many schools and other organizations have chosen to take dynamic steps to stop and fight this trend.
The cloak of anonymity makes the oppressor unafraid to type hurtful words that may ruin the life of the victim. Offensive memes, body shaming, vulgar language, scandals, cyberstalking, nudity, trolling and online gossips are some of the examples of degrading dignity and reputation by the means of social media. Disrespecting and invading privacy should never be tolerated.
Under House Bill 5718, or the proposed “Anti Cyber-Bullying Act of 2015,” cyber-bullies shall face a penalty of fines ranging from P50,000 to P100,000, or imprisonment between six months and six years, or both, at the discretion of the court. However, the provision only applies to the original author of the post of online libel and not to others who simply received the post and or who just react to it.
One of the saddest things about cyberbullying is that many people don’t really mean to hurt someone so deeply, and don’t realize the effects it has on someone. Words really do hurt. Even though it is only a simple insult or rude comment, it can deeply affect people. Worse, the person you stab through your words might attempt suicide because of the nasty comments and bullying behind the screen.
In the end, it is always best to devote the stroke of our fingers and the clicks of our mouse to intellectual discourse rather than risk being held liable under our present laws. After all, the power of our minds should be mightier than any sword there is.