Online Bullying

According to Stopcyberbullying.org: 

“Cyberbullying” is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. It has to have a minor on both sides, or at least have been instigated by a minor against another minor.

There has been cases where children have committed suicide after being involved in a cyberbullying incident. Cyberbullying is usually not a one time communication, unless it involves a death threat or a credible threat of serious bodily harm. Kids usually know it when they see it, while parents may be more worried about the lewd language used by the kids than the hurtful effect of rude and embarrassing posts.

Cyberbullying may rise to the level of a misdemeanor cyberharassment charge, or if the child is young enough may result in the charge of juvenile delinquency. Most of the time the cyberbullying does not go that far, although parents often try and pursue criminal charges. It typically can result in a child losing their ISP or IM accounts as a terms of service violation. And in some cases, if hacking or password and identity theft is involved, can be a serious criminal matter under state and federal law.

When schools try and get involved by disciplining the student for cyberbullying actions that took place off-campus and outside of school hours, they are often sued for exceeding their authority and violating the student’s free speech right. They also, often lose. Schools can be very effective brokers in working with the parents to stop and remedy cyberbullying situations. They can also educate the students on cyberethics and the law. If schools are creative, they can sometimes avoid the claim that their actions exceeded their legal authority for off-campus cyberbullying actions. We recommend that a provision is added to the school’s acceptable use policy reserving the right to discipline the student for actions taken off-campus if they are intended to have an effect on a student or they adversely affect the safety and well-being of student while in school. This makes it a contractual, not a constitutional, issue.

The Federal government is currently looking at expanding anti-harrasment laws to cover young people who are subjected to bullying online.

This video talks about Cyber Bullying being a major problem in our society today.

My Personal Overview: Online bullying is very convenient for the youth because most of them have access to a computer or phone with internet capability. It’s also allows children to be more comfortable to say things about people they normally wouldn’t say to them face to face. Online form of bullying is permanent and public, once it’s written it’s there in writing for everyone to see. This can be more devastating to the child experiencing the bullying.

Citation: http://www.stopcyberbullying.org/lawenforcement/index.html

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