Rutgers student’s death impacts online community

Analicia Najera

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On the evening of Sept. 19 in New Jersey, Rutger’s freshman Dharun Ravi, 18, placed a camera in the dorm room he shared with roommate, Tyler Clementi, after knowing that the room was going to be occupied for the night. Ravi broadcast and announced the video of Clementi’s intimate encounter on iChat two days later.

The next day, Clementi committed suicide. Clementi’s death brought fury from gay rights groups as well as support for Ravi. defines cyberbullying as when a child or teen is being harassed, humiliated, threatened or targeted by another child or teen with the use of the internet, a cell phone, and other technology devices. When adults become involved it is called cyber-harassment or cyberstalking.

Clementi was not the first victim of cyberbullying and this will certainly not end if we keep quiet about it. So far, celebrities such as, Ellen DeGeneres, Neil Patrick Harris and Ciara, have spoken against this form of bullying.

This is becoming a huge problem in the online community and educating children, preteens and teenagers is where it should begin. They need to be
taught that bullying in any form is not all right and will be held responsible for their actions if they are bullying others. It can significantly prevent cyberbullying and the consequences that may follow.

Some may argue that cyberbullying is an ordinary issue and everyone is bullied at one point in their life. That victims need to have tougher skin and ignore the hurtful messages that are directed towards them. But this is not some traditional schoolyard bullying.

When it comes to cyberbullying, each incident is different. Young adults and teenagers are bullied online for their appearance, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation and the list can go on. The bullying online can be seen or heard by thousands of people who surf the web.

The bully is motivated to target the victim with anger, revenge or entertainment. In the case of Clementi, I think Ravi was very aware of what he was doing and was obviously looking for a reaction. Which is what he got from the media.

If teens don’t accept and/ or stop the cyberbullying, then they will be safer online and offline. If you need someone to talk to or want to know where to get involved, there are organizations such as The Trevor Project, STOMP Out Bullying and the Pacer Center.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said. “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”