Is Cyberbullying a Crime? How Do Teens Perceive It?
No doubt, cyberbullying is one of the hottest topics these days because of its disastrous effects on our teens. Unfortunately, where the advancement in technology is making us progress faster every day, its dangerous consequences can’t be ignored. More than this progress, the biggest point of worry is the danger that this digital world is posing on our kids.
Detailed research has been conducted on the facts based on how much cyberbullying is affecting our kids. According to it, almost 37% of the young teens have reportedly said that they have received harmful comments online. About 75% have been visiting the websites that are based on bashing other students. Where cyberbullying is making innocent kids commit suicide, it is very safe to ask, ‘is cyberbullying a crime?’
Before you jump into any conclusion regarding the ‘illegal activities’ of your kids, let’s see what we are dealing with here.
What Is Cyberbullying, Anyway?
If someone makes a lighter funnier comment on your kid’s post, you can’t just accuse him of crime. Can you? So, let’s see what cyberbullying is.
An author and speaker of the Foster Care Institute, Dr. John DeGarmo says,
“Cyberbullying is the platform the twenty-first-century bully uses to inflict pain and humiliation upon another. The use of technology to embarrass, threaten, harass, tease, or even target another person. Today’s bully can follow the targeted victim wherever the child may go. Whenever the bullied child has access to the internet, he or she can be bullied.”
Online platforms are making it easier and smoother to produce bullies every day. Since social media platforms are becoming a regular part of their lives, it gets easier to use the same platforms for other purposes as well. But, little do they or their parents know that such activities are devastating for many young children out there.
There are a significant number of kids who experience bullying every day. Some kids get traumatized in response to such acts that they often choose suicide. Now, let us learn why cyberbullying may be considered a crime.
Is Cyberbullying a Crime?
Founder and attorney of Carter Law Firm, Ruth Carter says,
“Yes, there are legal consequences. It all depends on the rules and regulations of the state and the situation that is witnessed. Some major disciplines can include expulsion from school, civil lawsuits for defamation and other harmful consequences, or criminal charges for harassment. The last thing that you want is suicide and the school shooting in response to this cyberbullying.”
Now, many schools have made a few policies about cyberbullying for prevention. A decade ago, no one had even thought of this issue, but now they are paying more attention. Because no school wants harmful acts like suicide or school shooting among their students.
To decide if cyberbullying is a crime or not, circumstances matter. Many cases end up being persecuted as harassment. Some result in civil court, others might have warrant prosecution for hate crimes, criminal charges, cyberbullying, harassment, and a violation under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).
According to Stomp Out Bullying, here is a list of cyberbullying forms that can be considered a crime:
- Making violent threats
- Stalking someone
- Committing hate crimes
- Making death threats
- Harassing messages and phone calls
- Taking a photo of someone when you aren’t supposed to
- Child pornography
If you are not sure that the type of cyberbullying your child is experiencing falls under the category of crime, you can simply ask for help. You must review the policies and rules to know if you can complain about that certain issue. You must also keep copies of the harassing messages and videos. Record the audios. Because, if you're filing a case, you need evidence.
The Long-Term Consequences of Cyberbullying
Now, with all the awareness, cyberbullying can get you in court, get you expelled, fired, or even arrested. In addition to these dreadful consequences of choosing to be a bully, there are some dangerous long-term consequences.
What goes online, stays online. In part of their lives, even years later, people can find it and use it. The posts and comments don’t just go away. They are there forever because of this dear advanced technology that we are enjoying.
Some people might lose their chance of being appointed at a job due to their actions on their social media platforms. Employers do a background check on the employees who are in for the interview. It is a very common practice among them.
The things that you might find funny today might become tomorrow’s regret. It is no doubt that the bullied is affected the most. They go through this trauma and find it hard to get over it. But it is the same for the bully too. They just don’t realize it now. Their careers, relationships, reputation, everything can be at stake due to the things they did for fun purposes.
Parents Need to Be Aware
Being a parent, you can’t just let go of your child when they have smartphones in their hands. They need equal or even more care at this point. You ought to keep a keen eye on them before this all destroys your kid.
You can use parental control apps to make sure the kids are safe. Your child might not tell you what is going on with them in the internet world because of a variety of reasons. But, you ought to figure it out otherwise how are you going to take care of them? Using a parental control app is beneficial for you in many forms. You can monitor them, keep an eye on them, and know when they are in trouble.
Whenever you see them in any sort of cyberbullying trouble, talk to them immediately. Ask for help and see what you can do to protect them. There are multiple ways to deal with this situation now. Teach them about this and help them stay away from cyberbullying.