Local reaction to cyber bullying incidents

By Drew Smith
Cyber bullying uses technology to humiliate and harm its victims. It’s what police believe to several suicides of gay teens across the nation recently.

“It has a very deep effect a very painful effect,” Brandon Tankard said.

Tankard is the president of Spectrum, the gay-straight alliance on Elon’s campus. He’s concerned about the effect cyber bullying can have on certain targeted people.

“I think it’s so much easier to do,” he said. “You don’t have to be in someone’s face saying this to them, it’s a different dynamic when you’re standing in front of someone and looking into their eyes and saying something.”

New communication technology has increased the ease of attacking people anonymously. But it is also easy to be tracked down and caught on the Internet. And if a person is caught they could be now be arrested in North Carolina.

The General Assembly made cyber bullying a criminal offense last year. You can read the full house bill: NC House Bill 1261

Tankard hopes no one will face those charges at Elon.

“I would like to believe that nothing like that could happen here at Elon because we have a great student body and it’s a very safe place. I just would charge people to be very cognizant and aware of what they’re doing and what they’re saying and how their words can affect the lives of others.”

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