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When Cyber Bullying Becomes a Crime
Modern technology and the Internet provides people with opportunities for long distance communication spanning via countries and cultures. However, the Internet can be used not only as a communication tool, but as a weapon in some cases.
Unfortunately, children and teenagers often use the Internet and especially social channels to intimidate and pick on their classmates. This phenomenon is referred to as “cyber bullying”. Bullying is not a new problem, it just has moved from the schoolyard to the Internet, social networking sites and mobile text messages. Cyber bullying seems attractive as it gives them a sense of power.
Despite the lack of audible insults or physical contact, cyber bullying can be even more injuring than other forms of bullying. As social channels are available to everyone, family, friends and acquaintances can view bullying in social network sites, posts, emails, fake profiles and chat rooms. Misleading information can get into the hands of thousands of people in a matter of minutes.
Little are the chances that the bully will be caught when cyberbullying a victim. Until recently, there were no laws particularly addressed cyberbullying. However, the legislators haven`t ignored the raising number of high-publicity incidents with tragic consequences in certain cases, including school shooting and suicides. Fifteen states across the U.S currently have set laws in place recognizing cyber bullying a crime. This crime includes electronic communications done for the sole purpose of intimidating, coercing and harassing. However, cyberbullying is treated a civil, and not a criminal matter.
The victim of cyber bullying should contact the police upon receiving threat of violence. The penalties for this crime are wide-ranging. They can range from civil penalties (school intervention via expulsions or suspensions) to jail time.
This area of law is rapidly evolving contact an attorney for more information regarding the laws that can be applied to your case.