Guns. The word itself conjures up images of bloodshed and death. Yet instead of instilling fear into people, American society has embraced guns and placed them in numerous homes under the pretence of protection. Add to that image – children. Children and guns should never have any association, yet has become somewhat commonplace because of the many incidences that involve the two.
In the age bracket of 10 to 19 years, guns are the second leading cause of deaths, after automobile accidents, in America. Of the 5751 deaths in 1993, 3661 were homicides while 1460 were suicides. One American in that age group dies every 92 minutes regardless of cause, and for every child killed, four are injured. Between 1996 and 1997, 6000 school children were expelled for bringing guns to school. (http://www.handguncontrol.org/)
In April 1999, two boys in Littleton, Colorado went on a rampage at Columbine High School where 12 students and a teacher were killed. Almost 20 other students were hurt during this incident. They turned the guns on themselves after the shooting was over. Then in May, a 15-year-old boy opened fire at Heritage High School in Conyers, Georgia injuring six students. He had taken a rifle and pistol from a cabinet of weapons in his home. (http://www.angelfire.com/wa)
In May 1998, in Springfield, Oregon, a 15-year-old, expelled from Thurston High School, returned to the school and opened fire in the cafeteria, killing two students. His parents were later found shot dead in their home, believed to have been killed by the son.
The latest shooting took place in Michigan this past February where a six-year-old boy shot dead a classmate. Kayla Rolland, 6, was shot through the neck and died later in hospital. The boy was under the care of his aunt, living in a house where guns were within reach, and drugs were traded for stolen weapons. The six-year-old, suspended from school three times prior to the shooting, once for stabbing a student with a pencil, got the loaded gun from under some blankets on a bed at the house in which he was living.
One might imagine that after all these unnecessary deaths, gun laws would be revised to ensure guns are kept out of the hands of children. In America, the Brady Law states that anyone under 21 cannot legally purchase handguns from licensed dealers. There is, however, a loophole whereby 18 to 21-year-olds can purchase handguns from private or unlicensed dealers.
The Problem of Cyberbullying
Bullying has been a social problem since the beginning of civilized man. There have
always been people in society who intentionally harass and abuse others, either physically or
emotionally. Traditional bullying was an act of verbal or physical harassment between a bully
and their victim. Usually the bully was an individual who held more power or strength than the
person they were bullying. In the last couple of decades, bullying has transcended into an act that
can be performed virtually through electronic devices. Cyber-bullying is a relatively new term
that describes the act of bullying through the use of an electronic medium such as e-mail, instant
messaging, websites, or texting. This new form of bullying is no longer requires the imbalance of
power or strength between a bully and a victim. Everyone is on the same playing field and hold
equal power when it comes to cyber-bullying. This digital phenomenon is ultimately a product of
the rapid growth of communication technologies such as the Internet and cellular phones.
As described by Robin Kowalski, Susan Limber, and Patricia Agatston in Cyber-
bullying: Bullying in the Digital Age, the phenomenon of cyber-bullying is a direct result of the
inventions of new technologies and the improvement of current ones. The rest of this paper will
feature research from their book, which discusses new trends in social interaction among
children and adolescents from the use of different communication technologies. The book
primarily focuses on the criteria for an act to be classified as cyber-bullying, and how the new
trends in social interactions provide the perfect environment for children and adolescents to bully
one another via electronic mediums….
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…ata toward research. This subject
still needs more attention and research to prevent negative psychological impacts on children and
adolescents. Unlike traditional bullying, cyber-bullying is something that one cannot avoid. A
cyber-bully can be located anywhere and still bully their victim as long as they have access to an
electronic device with internet connection. Cyber-bullying takes traditional bullying to a whole
new level and in time there must to be ways of protecting children and adolescents from cyber-
bullying because new communication technologies are being developed every day.
1. Kowalski, Robin M., PhD; Limber , Susan P., PhD; Agatston, Patricia W. , PhD (2008)
Cyber Bullying: Bullying in the Digital Age. Kindle Edition, downloaded from
Amazon.com. Blackwell Publishing.