The internet has changed from a helpful resource to a deadly weapon. The innocent Tyler Clementi is one of many victims who have taken their own lives due to public embarrassment and humiliation over the internet. Defining a hate crime, the FBI states that “A criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation”(hate crime overview, FBI). Tyler Clementi, a former Rutgers student, was publicly humiliated because of his sexual orientation. When a person is exposed on the internet without his or her permission it is an invasion of privacy, but when the invasion of privacy is based on hate due to a biased opinion, it is a hate crime. Hate crimes on the internet should have the same consequences as any other hate crime; however, the severity of the punishment must be determined with sufficient evidence of the person involved in the hate crime. According to the FBI website, “FBI resources, forensic expertise, and experience in identification and proof of hate-based motivations often provide an invaluable complement to local law enforcement.” FBI and local enforcement must work together to stop these hate crimes.
To prevent online bullying there should be companies and professionally trained individuals managing websites and blogs. These people should look out for signs of cyber bullying so that it can be stopped. If students are victims of cyber bullying they should seek help. The internet is open to the public and therefore anyone could witness this student’s problem. As individuals we should face these problems and not turn our backs. We need to stand up and do something about this horrible crime. Discussing cyber bullying, Kathleen Parker states in her article “A private matter of public concern”, “ How could anyone think that another’s most private, intimate moments was fair game?” In the case of Tyler Clementi his personal privacy was invaded without his permission or knowledge. This invasion would become the event to end his life. Parker also states that “as a community of decent people, we have to rally ourselves to stop the insanity of narcissism and exhibitionism that inculcates the broader notion that nothing is off limits.” We, as citizens, must take the initiative to stop these hate crimes that take place behind the computer screen, and social networks must also heighten security on their pages so that cyber bullying can come to an end once and for all.