Legislation geared at penalizing cyberbullying has been introduced in a number of U.S. states including New York, Missouri, Rhode Island and Maryland. At least forty five states passed laws against digital harassment. Dardenne Prairie of Springfield, Missouri, passed a city ordinance making online harassment a misdemeanor. The city of St. Charles, Missouri has passed a similar ordinance. Missouri is among other states where lawmakers are pursuing state legislation, with a task forces expected to have "cyberbullying" laws drafted and implemented. In June, 2008, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) and Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R-Mo.) proposed a federal law that would criminalize acts of cyberbullying.
Lawmakers are seeking to address cyberbullying with new legislation because there's currently no specific law on the books that deals with it. A fairly new federal cyberstalking law might address such acts, according to "Parry Aftab, but no one has been prosecuted under it yet. The proposed federal law would make it illegal to use electronic means to "coerce, intimidate, harass or cause other substantial emotional distress."
In August 2008, the California state legislature passed one of the first laws in the country to deal directly with cyberbullying. The legislation, Assembly Bill 86 2008, gives school administrators the authority to discipline students for bullying others offline or online. This law took effect, January 1, 2009. A law in New York's Albany County that criminalized cyberbullying was recently struck down as unconstitutional by the "New York Court of Appeals in "People v. Marquan M..
A recent ruling first seen in the UK determined that it is possible for an "Internet Service Provider (ISP) to be liable for the content of sites which it hosts, setting a precedent that any ISP should treat a notice of complaint seriously and investigate it immediately.
criminalizes the making of threats via Internet.
Since the 1990s, the United Kingdom and other European countries have been working to solve workplace bullying since there is no legislation regulating cyberbullying. The pervasive nature of technology has made the act of bullying online much easier. A 24-hour internet connection gives bullies a never ending opportunity to find and bully victims. Employers in the European Union have more legal responsibility to their employees than other countries. Since employers do not the ability to fire or hire an employee at will like in the United States, employers in Europe are held to a high standard in how their employees are treated. The Framework Agreement on Harassment and Violence at Work is a law that prevents bullying occurring in the workplace and holds employers accountable for providing fair working conditionsr. Lawyers pursuing cyberbullying cases use The Ordinance on Victimization at Work law, since they are not any laws specifically condemning cyberbullying.
In 1993, Sweden was the first European Union country to have a law against cyberbullying. The Ordinance on Victimization at Work protected victims from "recurrent reprehensible or distinctly negative actions which are directed which are directed against individual employees in an offensive manner and can result in those employees being placed outside the workplace community". In 2002, France passed the Social Modernization Law, which added consequences to the French Labor Code for cyberbullying such as holding employers accountable for their involvement in harassment. The legislation states, "the employer can be held accountable if it is deemed by court of law that the conduct defile the employee emotionally or physical health in any manner". The United Kingdom does not have anti-bullying legislation. However, it does have the Protection From Harassment Act, an anti-stalking law. The United Kingdom courts have used this legislation in bullying cases. In 2007, the European Union developed the Framework Agreement on Harassment and Violence at Work. The law defines the responsibilities of an employer such as protecting his or her employees from bullies in a work environment and the psychological pain a victim faces from bullies during business hours.
The United States and other countries have more extensive legislation on cyberbullying than the European Union. The amount of cyberbullying incidents on social media are widespread and have increased drastically. However, the process of getting a claim against a bully is not an easy one because of the victim's need to provide sufficient evidence to prove the existence of bullying.
As of mid-2015, countries in the European Union like the United Kingdom are in the process of creating law specially related to cyberbullying. Since the process takes time, the government is supporting schools programs to promote internet safety with the help of teachers and parents. This will allow government to take the time it needs to create the cyberbullying laws while helping students safeguarding themselves from cyberbullying as much as they can.
Research on preventative legislation
Researchers suggest that programs be put in place for prevention of cyberbullying. These programs would be incorporated into school curricula and would include online safety and instruction on how to use the Internet properly. This could teach the victim proper methods of potentially avoiding the cyberbully, such as blocking messages or increasing the security on their computer.
Within this suggested school prevention model, even in a perfect world, not one crime can be stopped fully. That is why it is suggested that within this prevention method, effective coping strategies should be introduced and adopted. As with any crime, people learn to cope with what has happened, and the same goes for cyberbullying. People can adopt coping strategies to combat future cyberbullying events. An example of a coping strategy would be a social support group composed of various victims of cyberbullying. That could come together and share experiences, with a formal speaker leading the discussion. Something like a support group can allow students to share their stories, and allows that feeling of them being alone to be removed.
Teachers should be involved in all prevention educational models, as they are essentially the "police" of the classroom. Most cyberbullying often goes unreported as the victim feels nothing can be done to help in their current situation. However, if given the proper tools with preventative measures and more power in the classroom, teachers can be of assistance to the problem of cyber-bullying. If the parent, teacher, and victim can work together, a possible solution or remedy can be found.
There have been many legislative attempts to facilitate the control of bullying and cyberbullying. The problem is due to the fact that some existing legislation is incorrectly thought to be tied to bullying and cyberbullying (terms such as libel and slander). The problem is they do not directly apply to it nor define it as its own criminal behavior. Anti-cyberbullying advocates even expressed concern about the broad scope of applicability of some of the bills attempted to be passed.
In the United States, attempts were made to pass legislation against cyberbullying. Few states attempted to pass broad sanctions in an effort to prohibit cyberbullying. Problem include how to define cyberbullying and cyberstalking, and if charges are pressed, whether it violates the bully's freedom of speech. B. Walther has said that "Illinois is the only state to criminalize 'electronic communication(s) sent for the purpose of harassing another person' when the activity takes place outside a public school setting." Again this came under fire for infringement on freedom of speech.
Research had demonstrated a number of serious consequences of cyberbullying victimization. For example, victims have lower self-esteem, increased suicidal ideation, and a variety of emotional responses, retaliating, being scared, frustrated, angry, and depressed. People have reported that Cyberbullying can be more harmful than traditional bullying because there is no escaping it.
One of the most damaging effects is that a victim begins to avoid friends and activities, often the very intention of the cyberbully.
Cyberbullying campaigns are sometimes so damaging that victims have committed suicide. There are at least four examples in the United States where cyberbullying has been linked to the suicide of a teenager. The "suicide of Megan Meier is a recent example that led to the conviction of the adult perpetrator of the attacks. Another example of harmful effects is the death of Holly Grogan who ended her life by jumping of a 30-foot bridge near Gloucester in the UK . It was reported that a number of her schoolmates has posted a number of hateful messages on her Facebook page.
According to Lucie Russell, director of campaigns, policy and participation at youth mental health charity Young Minds, young people who suffer from "mental disorder are vulnerable to cyberbullying as they are sometimes unable to shrug it off:
When someone says nasty things healthy people can filter that out, they're able to put a block between that and their self-esteem. But mentally unwell people don't have the strength and the self-esteem to do that, to separate it, and so it gets compiled with everything else. To them, it becomes the absolute truth – there's no filter, there's no block. That person will take that on, take it as fact.
Social media has allowed bullies to disconnect from the impact they may be having on others.
Intimidation, emotional damage, suicide
According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, "there have been several high‐profile cases involving teenagers taking their own lives in part because of being harassed and mistreated over the Internet, a phenomenon we have termed cyberbullicide – suicide indirectly or directly influenced by experiences with online aggression."
Cyberbullying is an intense form of psychological abuse, whose victims are more than twice as likely to suffer from mental disorders compared to traditional bullying.
The reluctance youth have in telling an authority figure about instances of cyberbullying has led to fatal outcomes. At least three children between the ages of 12 and 13 have committed suicide due to depression brought on by cyberbullying, according to reports by USA Today and the Baltimore Examiner. These would include the "suicide of Ryan Halligan and the "suicide of Megan Meier, the latter of which resulted in "United States v. Lori Drew.
More recently, teenage suicides tied to cyberbullying have become more prevalent. The latest victim of cyberbullying through the use of mobile applications was Rebecca Ann Sedwick, who committed suicide after being terrorized through mobile applications such as "Ask.fm, "Kik Messenger and "Voxer.
On youth and teenagers
The effects of cyberbullying vary. But, research illustrates that cyber bullying adversely affects youth to a higher degree than adolescents and adults. Youth are more likely to suffer since they are still growing mentally and physically. Jennifer N. Caudle, a certified family physician, describes the effects as "Kids that are bullied are likely to experience anxiety, depression, loneliness, unhappiness and poor sleep".
Most of the time cyberbullying goes unnoticed; the younger generation hides their bullying from anyone that can help to prevent the bullying from occurring and from getting worse. Between 20% and 40% of adolescents are victims of cyberbullying worldwide. The youth slowly change their behaviors and actions so they become more withdrawn and quiet than they are used to, but no one notices since the change is subtle. Cyberbullying will "become a serious problem in the future with an increase in the Internet and mobile phone usage among young people".
If preventive actions are not taken against cyberbullying, younger children in addition to teenagers will feel more lonely and depressed along with having a significant change in their eating and sleeping patterns as well as loss of interest in their normal activities. These changes will affect their growth and development into adulthood. Younger children and teenagers are 76.2% less likely to display suicidal behaviors and thoughts, but are still at risk depending on other factors such as mental health status, home care, relationships with others. The risk of suicide increases 35% to 45% when victims do not have any support from anyone in their life and cyberbullying amplifies the situation more.
The Cybersmile Foundation is a cyberbullying charity committed to tackling all forms of "online bullying, abuse, and hate campaigns. The charity was founded in 2010 in response to the increasing number of cyberbullying related incidents of "depression, "eating disorders, social isolation, "self-harm and "suicides devastating lives around the world. Cybersmile provides support to victims and their friends and families through "social media interaction, email and helpline support. They also run an annual event, "Stop Cyberbullying Day, to draw attention to the issue.
There are multiple non-profit organizations that fight cyberbullying and cyberstalking. They advise victims, provide awareness campaigns, and report offenses to the police. These NGOs include the Protégeles, PantallasAmigas, "Foundation Alia2, the non-profit initiative Actúa Contra el Ciberacoso, the National Communications Technology Institute (INTECO), the Agency of Internet quality, the Agencia Española de Protección de Datos, the Oficina de Seguridad del Internauta, the Spanish Internet users' Association, the Internauts' Association, and the Spanish Association of Mothers and Parents Internauts. The Government of "Castile and León has also created a Plan de Prevención del Ciberacoso y Promoción de la Navegación Segura en Centro Escolares, and the Government of the "Canary Islands has created a portal on the phenomenon called Viveinternet.
In March 2007, the Advertising Council in the United States, in partnership with the National Crime Prevention Council, U.S. Department of Justice, and Crime Prevention Coalition of America, joined to announce the launch of a new "public service advertising campaign designed to educate preteens and teens about how they can play a role in ending cyber-bullying.
January 20, 2008 – the "Boy Scouts of America's 2008 edition of "The Boy Scout Handbook addresses how to deal with online bullying. A new "First Class rank requirements adds: "Describe the three things you should avoid doing related to use of the Internet. Describe a cyberbully and how you should respond to one."
January 31, 2008 – "KTTV Fox 11 News based in Los Angeles put out a report about organized cyber-bullying on sites like "Stickam by people who call themselves ""/b/rothas". The site had put out report on July 26, 2007, about a subject that partly featured cyberbullying titled "hackers on steroids".
June 2, 2008 – Parents, teens, teachers, and Internet executives came together at Wired Safety's International Stop Cyberbullying Conference, a two-day gathering in White Plains, New York and New York City. Executives from Facebook, "Verizon, MySpace, "Microsoft, and many others talked with hundreds about how to better protect themselves, personal reputations, children and businesses online from harassment. Sponsors of the conference included "McAfee, "AOL, "Disney, "Procter & Gamble, "Girl Scouts of the USA, WiredTrust, Children's Safety Research and Innovation Centre, KidZui.com and others. Cyberharassment vs. cyberbullying was a forefront topic, where age makes a difference and abusive internet behavior by adults with repeated clear intent to harm, ridicule or damage a person or business was classified as "stalking harassment vs. bullying by teens and young adults.
August 2012 – A new organized movement to make revenge porn illegal began in August 2012. It is known as End Revenge Porn. Currently revenge porn is only illegal in two states, but the demand for its criminalization is on the rise as digital technology has increased in the past few generations. The organization seeks to provide support for victims, educate the public, and gain activist support to bring new legislation before the United States Government.
In 2006, PACER.org created a week long event that was held once a year in October. Today, the campaign is a monthlong event and is now known as the National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month.
Originated in Canada, "Anti-Bullying day is a day of celebration for those who choose to participate wearing a symbol of colours (Pink, Blue or Purple) as a stance against bullying. A B.C. teacher founded the Stop A Bully movement, which uses pink wristbands to represent the wearer's stance to stop bullying.
Pink Shirt Day was inspired by David Shepherd and Travis Price. Their high school friends organized a protest in sympathy for a Grade 9 boy who was bullied for wearing a pink shirt. Their stance from wearing pink has been a huge inspiration in the Great Vancouver Mainland. "We know that victims of bullying, witnesses of bullying and bullies themselves all experience the very real and long term negative impacts of bullying regardless of its forms – physical, verbal, written, or on-line (cyberbullying)".
The ERASE (Expect Respect and A Safe Education) is an initiative started by the province of British Columbia to foster safe schools and prevent bullying. It builds on already-effective programs set up by the provincial government to ensure consistent policies and practices regarding the prevention of bullying.
A number organizations are in coalition to provide awareness, protection and recourse for the escalating problem. Some aim to inform and provide measures to avoid as well as effectively terminate cyberbullying and cyberharassment. Anti-bullying charity "Act Against Bullying launched the CyberKind campaign in August 2009 to promote positive internet usage.
In 2007, YouTube introduced the first Anti-Bullying Channel for youth, (BeatBullying) engaging the assistance of celebrities to tackle the problem.
In March 2010, a 17-year-old girl named Alexis Skye Pilkington was found dead in her room by her parents. Her parents claimed that after repeated cyberbullying, she was driven to suicide. Shortly after her death, attacks resumed. Members of "eBaums World began to "troll teens' memorial pages on "Facebook, with the comments including expressions of pleasure over the death, with pictures of what seemed to be a banana as their profile pictures. Family and friends of the deceased teen responded by creating Facebook groups denouncing cyberbullying and trolling, with logos of bananas behind a red circle with a diagonal line through it.
In response and partnership to the 2011 film "Bully, a grassroots effort to stop cyberbullying called The Bully Project was created. Their goal is "sparked a national movement to stop bullying that is transforming children's lives and changing a culture of bullying into one of empathy and action."
Teens in the United States
13-year-old Zoe Johnson from Wyoming, Michigan committed suicide in July 2015. Johnson had been a victim of cyberbullying for years and suffered from mild depression. It is believed that a message posted on her Facebook the day before her suicide may have been the turning point that pushed her towards suicide. After her death, people continued to post messages on her Facebook with one person posting the message "good ur gone".
14-year-old Carla Jamerson from Las Vegas, Nevada committed suicide in 2015. She was a victim of cyberbullying for years. Jamerson went to both the city and school police, but did not receive any help. After not receiving any help, she hanged herself.
Bullying of climate scientists and activists
As of 2011 and 2012, climate scientists and climate activists were being confronted with abusive emails from all over the world. These emails were sometimes sent in response to public statements that merely reported findings related to the widely accepted "anthropogenic climate change and its consequences. Such emails were sent in response to suggestions posted on climate denial websites, which are effectively requests to engage in cyberbullying. Climate scientists and climate activists were also confronted with libelous Internet reports that aimed to silence them or destroy their reputations.
In 2013, two Swedish teenage girls were convicted by the Swedish court in Gothenburg for writing derogatory, explicit remarks next to the pictures of 38 youngsters, mostly girls, via an anonymous "Instagram account. They were found guilty and sentenced to youth care and youth service as well as rioting at two schools.
In 2012, three teenage Irish girls committed suicide within a few weeks. Their families and friends called for the websites they were bullied on to be banned. "Ask.fm, an online Q&A website has received a lot of criticism. However, Ask.fm's co-founder Mark Terebin argues that "it is necessary to go deeper and to find a root of a problem. It's not about the site, the problem is about education, about moral values that were devaluated lately".
In media and pop culture
- "Adina's Deck— a film about three 8th-graders who help their friend who's been cyberbullied.
- Let's Fight It Together— a film produced by "Childnet International to be used in schools to support discussion and awareness-raising around cyberbullying.
- "Odd Girl Out— a film about a girl who is bullied at school and online.
- At a Distance— a short film produced by "NetSafe for the 8-12-year-old audience. It highlights forms and effects of cyberbullying and the importance of bystanders.
- "Cyberbully— a TV movie broadcast July 17, 2011 on "ABC Family.It depicts a teenage girl who is subjected to a campaign of bullying through a social networking site.
- "Life is Strange - Kate Marsh is subjected to cyberbullying with a viral video release after being drugged at a party, leading to a suicide attempt.
- "The Casual Vacancy – a young girl is subjected to harassing images repeatedly posted on her Facebook page.
- "The Truth about Truman School, a 2008 children's book about a middle school girl who is cyberbullied by one of her classmates
- "Chatroom, a 2010 British thriller film directed by Hideo Nakata about five teenagers who meet on the internet and encourage each other's bad behaviour.
- Star Wars: Jedi Academy: Return of the Padawan, a 2014 book by "Jeffrey Brown features cyberbullying on "Holobook," a fictionalized Star Wars version of Facebook.
- "URL, Interrupted," an episode of "CSI: Cyber, featured a storyline about a girl named Zoe Tan who was watched through her computer via "malware and cyberbullied with a website called "Kill Yourself Zoe Tan."
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|"Library resources about
|""||Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cyberbullying.|
|""||Look up cyberbully in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Cyberbullying Research Center
- Cyberbullying at Stopbullying.gov
- Cyberbullying Searchable Information Center, "ebrary
- Cyberbullying.org.nz – Cyberbullying information, support, and teaching resources from the New Zealand non-profit "NetSafe, including the short film At a Distance
- Cyberbullying – Cyberhelp.eu, practical advises for teachers and guardians
- Cyberbullying in Australia Australian Cyberbullying resource for teenagers
- Cyberbullying – What is Cyberbullying?
- Media Smarts – Cyberbullying
- Bad Behavior Online: Bullying, Trolling & Free Speech Video produced by "Off Book (web series)