Is Cyberbullying a Crime?
Bullying is not new, as it has been around for a long time in various aspects of life. However, with the presence of the internet and social media, it has become a menace due to cyberbullying. Many may wonder, is cyberbullying a crime? The primary concern is that any type of bullying may be hurtful to the victim.
73% of students claim to have been bullied at school, and 44% share experiencing bullying in the span of thirty days. Even though it’s quite prevalent, it’s not quantifiable when a victim feels unsafe due to something sent to them online or written about them. This online humiliation and harassment can be direct, indirect, or invading someone’s online privacy with the intention of hurting them.
With the growing number of rude online interactions that turn into threats, there are cyber harassment laws to punish offenders. This protects the victims, preventing cyberbullying effects. Keep reading to find out more so you can stay safe from bullying while having the resources to fight it legally.
What is Considered Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying refers to online harassment using digital platforms such as cell phones, computers, and the internet to threaten or defame a person. What cyberbullying means is that an individual is sharing hurtful texts, images, and videos of another person, making them feel embarrassed, sad, angry, or frustrated. It may also include rumors and false accusations that might put the one getting bullied in mental turmoil.
For those unaware of how cyberbullying starts, it may be as small as someone sharing hurtful texts directly or in a group. It may be anonymous or someone you already know. As people are using the internet more frequently now, they are more susceptible to getting bullied. This includes both adults and children.
However, children are more at risk of mental struggles due to bullying. A few factors that cause bullying of children are lack of awareness and peer pressure. Many may consider something to be a harmless joke, but it has the potential to turn into cybercrime without the intervention of parents and authorities.
The child who experiences cyberbullying may feel anxious and fall into depression, withdrawing from social activities. As parents, you need to ensure your children are safe online and not under the stress of cyberbullying. In California, cyberbullying and cyberstalking may lead to hefty fines and significant incarceration if an individual is guilty.
Current Electronic Cyber Harassment Laws are in California
As per the California Penal Code 653.2 PC, any electronic media, including texts or emails, with an intention to threaten an individual or their family is considered a crime. This also includes putting the other person’s safety at risk via electronic mediums with the purpose of harassment, public embarrassment, injury, or physical contact.
Anyone who publishes or distributes nonconsensual emails, pictures, or other personal information may be considered guilty of a misdemeanor. It is punishable by up to one year in county jail or a one thousand dollar fine (both in some cases).
Ways to Deal with Cyberbullying
If you’re wondering can cyberbullying cause depression, 37% of children have been noted to link their depression to cyberbullying. Will cyber bullying ever end? We may not be able to eliminate cyberbullying completely. As a result, we need stern measures and actions to deal with it alongside the laws. Here are some ways to deal in case you or your child is going through online bullying.
Don’t brush it off
If any situation feels unsafe and may pose a threat to your safety, it’s better to take action. Victims may be able to pick bullying cues earlier than others. Therefore, as parents, it’s essential to trust your children and empower them to voice these concerns when needed.
Avoid direct retaliation
Sometimes, bullies just want a reaction and enjoy it when their victim retaliates. It may be hard not to revert to harsh comments and rude remarks, but you may need to keep calm and think about your next step calmly. Make sure you save proof of your online interaction when required in the future.
Social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat have a report abuse feature in case someone gets bullied on the app. Moreover, some mobile phone providers offer anti-bullying features to prevent it over the phone.
Seek legal help
You don’t have to be clueless in these situations and suffer. It’s ideal take legal steps and seek help from an attorney to proceed with the case if the situation requires more than just reporting these offenders online.
Hiring Professional Criminal Defense Attorney
If your child or loved one is a victim of cyberbullying, do not stay quiet wondering is cyberbullying a crime. If you’re worried about your child being bullied, you may want to hire a professional attorney to fight against cybercrimes and bullying.
Criminal defense attorney Samantha Greene says, “With rising cases of cyberbullying and cybercrimes, we need to safeguard our youth from it, now more than ever. Legal council can greatly assist anyone in need of legal aid against cyberbullying.”
Seeking proper legal council can:
- Support you throughout your battle against cyberbullying.
- Ensure your case is strong and all facts are considered to make sure you win.
- Law firms with expertise in this area understand that this legal battle may get challenging for your child and your family.
- They can guide you while representing your court case.
Your child may suffer more if the situation is ignored and takes an unfortunate turn. Consider taking the necessary action to deal quickly with issues such as cyberbullying and cybercrimes. You may also want to contact an attorney if your child is being accused of cyberbully.
Attorney Samantha Greene is an attorney at Sevens Legal, APC. She is the winner of the Client Choice award from AVVO and the Top Attorneys award from San Diego, signifying credibility in the field. With her Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego School of Law, Mrs. Greene has expertise in dealing with criminal defense cases. Before starting a private practice, she worked as a Certified Law Clerk for the Public Defender’s Office and Senior Associate for one of San Diego’s top trial law firms.