Cyber Bullying

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Healthcare&Medicine ・APA ・5 Sources

The association between depression and suicide has been studied by psychologists. There is widespread agreement that there is a substantial link between depression and suicide. Some researchers have suggested that "those who die by suicide are frequently living with undetected depression."
Cyberbullying is a type of bullying that occurs through internet means of communication. This is not an unusual occurrence. According to Hunter (2012), at least 25% of teenagers have experienced cyberbullying at some point in their lives. Rebecca Ann Sedwick, a 12 year old, committed suicide on September 8, 2013. She was a student at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy. The investigation thereafter revealed that when in her previous school, there were some girls who were sending her electronic correspondence and would encourage her to harm herself. Guadalupe Shaw,14, assumed the role of a leader of the girls.

Three Elements of Cyber Bullying and Law

For some time, the legal provisions did not directly address cyber bullying. However, the legal fraternity has not been insensitive to the increasing cases of cyber bullying. To start with, the website gives some advice on what one should do in case of cyber bullying. The websites recommends the following as regards cyber bullying: keeping evidence of the bullying events, reporting cyber bullying to online service providers, reporting cyber bullying to the law enforcement agencies, and lastly, reporting cyber bullying to the schools.

Having stated that, there are three main elements of cyber bullying. To start with, cyber bullying is defined by an imbalance of power. A person or a group of people who are involved in bullying have are stronger. And the victim often has a difficult time in defending himself or herself.

By her own admission, Roman stated her bullish interaction with Sedwick at Crystal Lake Middle School. The bullying took various forms. To start with, Roman took a shot at the physical appearance of Sedwick and called her ugly. She also added it up by calling her a ho. Roman continued to send her messages such as a message that no one is going to miss her even if she died

Second, bullying takes place with an intent to cause harm. The investigators found out that Katelyn Roman and Guadalupe Shaw received charges of aggravated stalking and were accused of having tormented the suicide victim. Thus, both girls have a case to answer on the conduct of their behavior.

Lastly, cyberbullying (as in deed other types of bullying) is repetitive in nature. It should be noted that in the case of Sedwick, the bullying took place in school, and even after she left the school, the girls following her through electronic media.

Much as several states have prescribed laws that should govern cyber-bullying, much of the implementation is left in the hands of the administration of the respective schools. If the school does not take any action, then it becomes very difficult for the school to seek help.

Suicide and Undiagnosed Depression

Much as the cyber bullying is to blame for the suicide of Sedwick, other factors contributed too. These factors have affirmed the premise that suicide is not entirely as a result of cyber bullying but a multiplicity of factors.

In the case of Sedwick, she had a strained relationship with the father. Similarly, there was violence between his step-father and her mother. The implication was that Sedwick did bodily harm to herself. Sedwick had a relationship with an online boyfriend. And the fact that the relationship ended, it was not an easy time for her. This should also be taken as a contributing factor towards the suicide attempt

It should be noted that Sedwick situation has led to a situation where she was robbed of her independence and the ability to make her own decisions. For example, her classmates have the ability to encourage her to lie that the mother was abusing her. A good comparison on this could be drawn from the series The Haves and Have Nots albeit being a work of fiction. Amanda Cryer, the daughter of Jim Cryer has other people such as Candace Young, speaking for her. She is also raped by a law professor.

Having stated that, the thoughts of suicide are precipitated by a high level of mental conflict due to various things that are weighing down upon someone (Khan, 2006). Such undiagnosed depression could be fatal in some situations. For example, the fact that there is a gun in a home could make it easier to carry out suicide.

Suicide and the Agencies

Suicide is not going to be the only focal point for agencies that assist people who are considering suicide. On the contrary, such agencies ought to look at the motivating factors and other conditions as well. In the case of Sedwick, she had already researched on the sleeping pills that could cause death. If there sufficient intervention prior to the suicide that concentrated on such factors, then such an intervention could go through. At the same time, the fact that her mother insists that the death was only precipitated by bullying is not a justification for her actions.

Suicide: Trends by Countries

There is a big variance in the rates of suicide among countries. There are different explanations on this. Factors such as gender dynamics have a significant role to play. For example, in China, a higher number of women die due to suicide than men do (Wang et al, 2014).

Scholars have observed that countries that have a more pronounced religious life have a lower rate of suicide. A good comparison would be between the Philippines and Japan. The Philippines have a higher score on religiosity compared to Japan. It is therefore not surprising that the rate of suicide in Philippines is far much lower than Japan.

Suicide and Social Deviance

According to Durkheim, deviance is considered a social phenomenon (Lehmann, 1995). Again, Durkheim states that social reality does exist outside of the consciousness of the individual. Suicide should be seen as a tool of social control but not deviance. It should be noted that suicide is a response to social grievances.

What the society may call as a crime could be an instrument of social control. In this light, empathy plays a critical role in understanding social reality. The society should be careful to assist the people who are vulnerable to suicide but not condemn them.


Psychologists and legal professionals have recognized that cyber bullying has a more serious profound impact when compared to traditional bullying. For example, in traditional bullying, a teenager is safe when he or she is at home. However, a social media message gets the recipient anywhere anytime.


Hunter, N. (2012). Cyber Bullying. London: Raintree.

Kahn, A. P. (2006). The encyclopedia of stress and stress-related diseases. New York, NY: Facts on File

Lehmann, J. M. (1995). Durkheim's theories of deviance and suicide: a feminist reconsideration.

American Journal of Sociology, 100(4), 904-930.

Wang, C. W., Chan, C. L., & Yip, P. S. (2014). Suicide rates in China from 2002 to 2011: an\update. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology, 49(6), 929-941.

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