Do you think the new laws regarding bullying online, enacted after the suicide of Megan Meier, are a positive thing?
States’ efforts to bring some clarity to the realm of new communications technologies like blogs, instant messages and e-mail have done little to resolve when threatening or unruly behavior trumps freedom of speech, said Jeffrey Shaman, a First Amendment scholar at the DePaul University College of Law in Chicago.
I think they work better in theory than practice. Just like real-world bullying, it would be difficult to catch every instance of online bullying, even with monitoring software. Bullying is so subjective anyway. Factors such as tone and context are lost in written media, so just about anything could be perceived as hostile.
Clearly it's hard to put a stop to bullying, since "bullying" employs one of American's most sacred rights - - the right to free speech. It also could interfere with peoples' rights to privacy, making it hard to put in to practice. In addition, there are too many variables that could be considered bullying through online communication, but actually weren't intended to be hostile (and vice versa), as lone_justice mentioned.
Honestly, as sad as Meier's situation is, I don't think suicide is really as 'preventable' as people like it to seem. Millions of kids grow up being bullied in similar situations as hers, and grow up to be fine (and sometimes even stronger for it). And at the same time, Megan's parents mentioned that she had been struggling with low self esteem and depression for much of her young life - - the online bullying may have been the trigger that pushed her over the edge, but I feel like there were probably deeper issues at hand that cultivated Megan's suicidal thoughts to begin with.