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What Is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is the use of an online medium in order to harass, threaten, or bully others. There are two main forms of cyberbullying:

  1. Cyberstalking – This is the use of electronic communication, such as email and the internet, to stalk or commit threatening behavior. A key aspect of cyberstalking is that the threat of harm is credible. Tactics include using posts, forums, journals, and other online means to follow a victim and present them in a negative manner. 
  2. Cyberharassment – This is the use of instant messaging, blog messaging, email, social media or other online communication to harass an individual. Tactics include sending negative text messages, spreading lies and rumors, and posting pictures of victims without their consent.

Cyberbullying is a problem for both teenagers and adults. Teenagers often face cyberbullying through contacts at school and adults can face cyberbullying as a result of workplace conflict.

Is Cyberbulling a Crime?

Cyberbullying used to not be a crime, and someone could not be charged with cyberbullying until recently when the legislators saw that there have been an increasing number of incidents and tragic results that resulted from cyberbullying. Many states including California have passed laws banning cyberbullying, especially among kids and teenagers. Some states treat cyberbullying as a civil offense, such as intentional infliction of emotional distress or wrongful death, rather than a criminal offense.

Other crimes such as criminal harassment can be used in bringing charges for cyberbullying in severe cases, such as those resulting in suicide or self harm.

What Are the Consequences of Cyberbulling?

Cyberbullying can be traumatic and result in serious psychological harm to the victim. If you or a loved one are a victim of cyberbullying, you may be able to obtain a restraining order or file a civil case against the perpetrator. Alternatively, a local district attorney may pursue criminal charges. It is important to get in touch with a lawyer that is able to handle such matters.  Depending on the state laws and the circumstances surrounding the act of cyberbullying, the penalties can range from school suspension and termination from a job to civil damages for emotional distress and a jail or prison sentence.

Do I Need A Lawyer?

Bullying is a serious social problem. With the increase of people using technology to bully people, lawmakers are taking more steps to outlaw and prevent cyberbullying. If you are accused of engaging in cyberbullying, you should consider seeking the advice of a criminal defense attorney to help you figure out how to defend yourself against cyberbullying charges. Likewise, if you have been the victim of cyberbullying, an attorney can help put an end to the bullying and assist you in getting compensation for the harm you suffered as a result of being bullied.

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Last Modified: 09-17-2015 04:25 PM PDT

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