Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

Cyber-bullying

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Bullying is far from being a new issue inside schools and even inside the adult world.  But with the proliferation of bullying through social networks when should the government intervene to protect individuals from threats and conspired plots online?  Do other variables such as violent video games and even violent Hollywood movies have a strong enough association with cyber-bullying that it authorizes the government to intervene and regulate the private sector’s market?  I would argue that the constant exposure to graphic video games and movies has the capability to desensitize an individual with weak absolutes.  However, who is to determine the correct absolutes?  Our perception of our family, environment, and even the strangers around us affect our absolutes, the basic morals we true to ourselves subconsciously and perceive to be normal.

Slapping a woman is a social violation the US shares in culture and, therefore, is a standard absolute we have in perceiving this behavior as inappropriate.  But when we are exposed to this form of abuse in the entertainment industry, especially at young ages, the perception of what is normal and what is immoral may become blurred and less pertinent.  Writers create their scenes to sell you the game, so they may skew the use of abuse to be light-hearted or masculine to commit and not attempt a common “moral to the story” picture to their market.  This is not to criticize every video gamer or avid action movie-watcher to be desensitized; many writers in the entertainment industry write the violence for the simple plot of good versus evil.  But it is when writers weave violence such as rape and beatings to glorify a male character or to maintain the individual’s attention with such elicit entertainment.   

Although it is difficult to link violence in the entertainment industry as the direct cause of violent behavior from this market, I do believe there is a significant association between the entertainment industry and cyber-bullying, physical bullying, and even physical destruction and terrorism and, therefore, it is in the authority of the government to create more specialized policies to address the spectrum of violence in today’s social networking world.  I understand the argument that government intervention is a violation of our freedom of speech, but the woman featured in the TedX clip exercised her freedom of speech peacefully before individuals conspired on the internet to target and attack her.  These threats may sound menial as they at least originate online, but law enforcement and law-makers should not discriminate the victim of these targets while government agencies such as the NSA focus on online violence potentially leading to the plotting of a terrorist attack.  A terrorist attack is the strike and killing of many and is in the interest of the government to counter; should the potential strike and murder of many people on an individual basis be of any less concern?  Both the government and the community must work within their authority to treat these online threats as the new equivalent to face-to-face threats.

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