Suicide among the younger generation is on the increase. Cyberbullying is one of the chief reasons for these individuals to commit suicide. Psychologists are undertaking studies to learn more about the relationship between cyberbullying and suicide. Notably, cyberbullying has more than one definition. However, it usually entails sending humiliating or threatening messages or images to another person (Vermon, 2011). Laws makers have come up with anti-cyberbullying laws for the prosecution and conviction of the culprits as long as there is enough evidence to prove that the offense has been committed. It was reported that12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick of Lakeland, Florida, committed suicide after her classmates, 12-year-old Katelyn Roman and 14-year-old Guadalupe Shaw, bullied her. However, the case was later dropped because of insufficient evidence. The defense argued that other factors could have led to Rebecca coming suicide other than the actions of the mentioned students.
It was reported that the two classmates had a rough relationship with Rebecca. Additionally, some of the classmates of the two girls mentioned that they had witnessed the two bullying Sedwick. Indeed, it was appropriate for the two girls to be charged with aiding Rebecca’s suicide. Several students admitted to witnessing some of the hate messages that the two sent the victim. Some of them include “… go kill yourself” and “… no one will miss you if you die”. Even if other issues had contributed to the victim’s suicide, it is uncountable that the two girls compounded the problem or gave her the final push she needed to take her life.
For such a case to stand, social media owners have to agree to share information that prosecutors may not be able to access using other means, such as deleted messages on social media. Indeed, since the alleged crime was committed on social media, the lack of social media messages could weaken the prosecutor’s case. If deleted messages are recovered, and it is determined that they bear enough weight to prosecute the two students, then the case can be reopened, and justice can be served.
“People Who Die By Suicide Are Usually Experiencing Undiagnosed Depression”
A lot of the people who commit suicide have emotional disorders, such as depression.
According to Goldblum (2015), suicide usually comes from a depressive situation that may not be revealed to the people around the victim. A lot of them do not know how to deal with emotionally stressful situations such as cyberbullying; hence they end up feeling hopeless and worthlessness hence they develop suicidal thoughts. Causes of depression are diverse, and they include family issues and relationships with friends amongst others. Systems that can detect depression from changes in behavior can help prevent suicide cases.
Suicide and Social Media
Suicide is an area of interest due to the increased use of social media because of the research findings. Cyberspace provides a soft landing for the people with ill motives due to the lack of physical contact between the parties involved. Research indicates that cyberbullying doubles the likelihood of the younger people attempting to harm themselves. It has also been indicated that people who have been exposed to cyberbullying need extra screening to ascertain their mental health.
Considering Suicide Support
The increased usage of social media as a media of communication suggests that suicide cases are likely to increase in the future. Therefore, there is a need to look into the problem. For example, relevant agencies need to push for integration of cyberbullying into the established anti-bullying laws, especially in schools. Additionally, the social media companies should put in place policies and mechanism that help in identifying cases of cyberbullying. It is also imperative for families to have strong support systems so that when one of them is bullied online, he or she talks about it rather than suffer in silence and even committing suicide.
Differences in Suicide Rates
The differences in suicide rates may be because of the varied access to social media. The age at which individuals are introduced to these platforms may also explain the differences. States have different anti-bullying laws that attempt to make it difficult for culprits to succeed. The laws define what constitutes cyberbullying and liability to prosecution. States with best laws have in place a system that integrates the cyberbullying into other bullying offenses. For example, they identify people suffering from depression. Suicide rates in such states are lower compared to those in states that do not have effective laws. Screening those who commit cyberbullying is an important part in reducing suicide rate because it stops these crimes before they cause irreparable damage (McNeal, Kunkle, & Schmeida, 2018). Once one has reported cyberbullying, it is imperative for effective recovery measures, including counseling, to help him or her to recover from the ordeal.
Suicide as a Deviant Behavior
Classifying suicide as a deviant behavior may not be reasonable. Usually, people who commit suicide do so because of being under stress that they feel that they can control and usually those around them do not realize the suicidal people’s struggles. What is deviant is a behavior that is easily identifiable by other persons. The complex causes of suicide makes it difficult to classify suicide under an abnormal behavior. In most cases, a person develops suicidal behaviors from varied causes that may be complex. The causes of suicide, including depression, can be termed as deviant behavior because sometimes depressed people show signs of the disorder. Other than threatening to commit suicide, it is hard to tell that a person intends to commit suicide.
Goldblum, P. (2015). Youth suicide and bullying: challenges and strategies for prevention and
intervention. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
McNeal, R., Kunkle, S. M. & Schmeida, M. (2018). Cyber Harassment and Policy Reform in the
Digital Age. Hershey: IGI Global.
Vermon, L. (2011). Cyberbullying: a whole new meaning of abuse.