Our View: Cyber harassment continues after high school

DKS Editors

Summary: Although cyber bullying starts in middle school and high school, the harassment can have adverse affects on adults, as well.

Cyberharassment is much more than playful jokes and teasing. Cyber harassment includes harmful text messages, social media posts, online videos, blog entries, emails and instant messages. There is also cyberstalking, which is more serious and includes online or texted threats or malicious behaviors, posing credible harm, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Every state in the U.S. has laws protecting individuals against either cyberharassment or stalking.

Although cyberharassment or cyberstalking might not seem to be as real as physical harassment, it feels real to the individual being harassed or stalked. We are constantly using social media today, so this form of harassment can be even more extreme to the person being harassed, as it could be happening to them 24/7. One offensive post is enough to ruin the reputation of the person who posted it or of the person receiving it.

As students, we should be thinking before posting opinions, photos or videos to the Web. What might not seem harmful or even comical to the poster could be hurtful or threatening to someone else. For example, only one year ago, William Koberna, Kent State student, threatened to “shoot up” the university and made a direct threat to President Lester Lefton via Twitter. And as a result of his tweet, he was jailed and charged with both a felony and misdemeanor for a single tweet. This student’s career was seriously hurt because of one harmful tweet, which is why we need to be cautious and smart when posting to the Web.

Additionally, students are also often the receivers of cyber-harassment. We need to look out for our peers on social media sites and defend our friends if we feel they are being stalked or harassed on the Web or via texts. If you or a friend of yours feels harassed, make sure to explain to the harasser that you want them to stop or remove certain posts, and let someone else know what’s going on.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.