Cyber-bullying and cyber-stalking are rather close in meaning, but there is a slight difference in definition of these terms. Cyber-bullying is explained as the use of cell phones or the Internet with the aim of posting pictures or text messages that may cause mental discomfort to another person (Taylor, Fritsch, Liederbach, & Holt, 2011). Cyber-stalking has more specific objectives and severe outcomes.
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This activity is defined as committing a sequence of actions intended to make someone afraid of a serious physical injury or death (Taylor et al., 2011). Another shade of difference between cyber-bullying and cyber-stalking is the age of people engaged in them. The second activity presupposes the participation of adults, while the first one is performed by teenagers and adolescents. According to Ghasem, Frommholz, and Maple (2015), cyber-stalking is a rather severe type of harassment that aims at a specific victim whose psychological health may undergo dramatic changes.
While cyber-stalking is considered a more dangerous activity than cyber-bullying, I believe that the latter should also be considered a crime with which the authorities should deal accordingly. The two major differences between cyber-bullying and cyber-stalking are the age of criminals and the consequences of their activity. In my opinion, there is a great likelihood that cyber-stalkers develop their habits from practicing cyber-bullying at a younger age. Therefore, if adolescents feel that there is no punishment for their comparatively innocent actions, they will not know when to stop and will bring their dangerous activity to a new level.
I think that cyber-bullying should be pursued legally in the US courts of law. Even if the punishment for such an activity is not severe, it will still teach young people a lesson. As a result, such preventive measures may minimize the likelihood of these people’s disposition to engaging in cyber-stalking in the future. An intentional negative impact on people’s psychological state is a rather serious crime the responsibility for which should be borne to the full extent of the law.
Moreover, there is evidence that cyber-bullying is not always innocent. There are cases when young people commit suicide as a result of being cyber-bullied (“The rise in cyberbullying,” 2010). The society cannot forgive such crimes merely because they are committed by young people. On the contrary, all possible measures should be taken to reprimand cyber-bullying and thus prevent the development of cyber-stalking.
Ghasem, Z., Frommholz, I., & Maple, C. (2015). Machine learning solutions for controlling cyberbullying and cyberstalking. Journal of Information Security Research, 6(2), 55-64.
Taylor, R. W., Fritsch, E. J., Liederbach, J. R., & Holt, T. J. (2011). Digital crime and digital terrorism (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
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The rise in cyberbullying. (2010). NPR. Web.