Should Cyberbullying Be A Crime? Essay

1588 words - 7 pages

‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’ (The Christian Recorder). This is the infamous saying that many have heard since they were young. With vastly growing technology today, face to face bullying is being replaced with what is known as ‘cyberbullying’. Cyberbullying is defined as, “an aggressive intentional act carried out by a group or individual using electronic forms of contact repeatedly and over against a victim who cannot easily defend him or herself” (WebMD). It can take place using cell phones, computers, tablets, social media sites, text messaging, and/or chat rooms. Cyberbullying has become a growing awareness nationwide, prompting lawmakers to act and propose new laws making cyberbullying a criminal offense. Several tragedies nationwide have been a result of cyberbullying, making state lawmakers more increasingly willing to criminalize such behavior. With new modern day technology, recent laws being legislated, and worldwide tragedies; cyberbullying has led to a growing awareness of the issue and prompting cyberbullying to become a criminal offense.
With the vastly advancing technology growing every day, cyberbullying is becoming a constant issue among teens and adolescents. A simple text, tweet, post, or video is all that it takes to ruin an individual's self-esteem. The Internet has become a tool for many different things, but unfortunately many individuals have chosen it to anonymously bullying other individuals. Cyberbullying is something one can never escape, due to that it can happen twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Anything can be posted anonymously and can become wide-spread within minutes. The U.S Department of Health and Human Services states, “Kids who are cyber bullied are more likely to use alcohol, drugs, skip school, receive poor grades, have low self-esteem, and have more health problems” (U.S Department of Health & Human Services). Teens and adolescents turn to more negative behaviors because it is the only way the individual can feel a sense of acceptance. Nowadays individuals are more vulnerable to believe anything they read or hear about others, even if it is erroneous.
“Several states across the United States have been continuously adding cyberbullying on top of harassment laws that have already been in place” (National Conference of State Legislatures). The crackdown on cyberbullying has become a big priority for many lawmakers nationwide. New laws will give power to school officials and prosecutors to make decisions based on the severity of the situation. A school official will have the ability to suspend or expel the bully, while a prosecutor will have the ability to fine the bully and/or up to one year of imprisonment. In the state of Maryland as of October 1, 2013, ‘Grace’s Law’, was passed. This law states that, “It prohibits a person from using an “interactive computer service to maliciously engage in a course of conduct that inflicts serious emotional distress on...

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