My thoughts on Online Bullying.

I’m sure you have all heard of the recent tragic news story of a 14 year old girl, Hannah Smith, who unfortunately committed suicide due to online bullying, primarily on the question/answer based website It is something that is shocking and an eye opener towards the dangers of the internet.

Whilst I firmly believe that this is a tragic loss in a hopeful young life, I do not fully agree to the claim by her father that is solely to blame for the suicide of Hannah Smith. In my honest opinion, I believe that were many several factors that had a play, not just

One thing that surprises me is how the father is so quick to blame completely, thus leading to more people coming out with how they’ve been bullied on the website. Even leading to our “fantastic” Prime Minister David Cameron who recently decided to have an moronic opt-in for porn rule/law, has gone with the easy route of blaming the website. Surely if the father is so adamant that is to blame and at one point saying that the website owners should be prosecuted, that would indicate that he knew about the bullying his daughter received on In assumption that, that is the case, where was the advice telling her to stop going on the website or to delete her account? Surely that would have stopped the bullying?

And even if it was the case that her father didn’t know of the bullying she encountered on, surely her friends or teachers or anyone would have noticed a change in her attitude and behaviour. Surely someone somewhere could have detected that something is wrong. After all, is a social website where you can follow people and see what they answer.

What I believe that David Cameron forgot to address because it would require actual work and training and money, is the teaching of both kids and adults about the Internet and how to combat cyber bullying and what to do if it happens. It’s simple education like that provided to both kids and their parents that I believe could have had a possibility to stop the bullying escalating to the level it did.

The media didn’t help in all of this, instead of taking a clearer approach, they also decided to go the easy way and the website. Because let’s face it, who wants to read paragraphs and paragraphs on cyber bullying when you could read about how the website is to blame and we need to ban it and it will solve everything. What everyone is failing to understand, is a website for communication, it’s a medium, the bullying could have just as easily happened face to face or by text. Would the story have been the same then, would David Cameron have come out and said let’s boycott text messaging?

However, let us not let off the hook altogether though. Although the website builds itself upon the idea of asking questions anonymously, and the majority of the questions are anonymous, I believe that more steps could have been taken to prevent the hurtful questions.

One thing I believe that could have been done was to disable the opportunity to ask anonymous questions on, whilst for some, it may ruin the fun of of being able to ask what you want without implicating your name. However, this would therefore mean that people would have to make an account to ask any questions. Although there would still be the chance of fake details, depending on the user who is sending the questions, an IP address could have been logged and pursued by the police.

Depending on the person, if online education was drilled in at a younger age, then it could have been so that the user, in this case Hannah, could have reported the bullying posts to the local authorities, or put a specific blacklist on the users that you don’t want to to ask you questions. But the most effective method would be to delete the account and not visit the website.

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