Cyberbullying is a major problem in today’s hyper-connected world. While children and teens of previous decades had to contend with schoolyard bullying and potentially prank phone calls, bullying in today’s world is a different animal. Online bullying can affect the child or teen at all hours of the day and in any location. Where kids used to be able to retreat into the safety of their home or room in decades past, even this former sanctuary can be breached by online insults and bullying.
Dealing with cyberbullying often requires a multifaceted approach. One of the steps required to deal with cyberbullying often includes the removal of the false, humiliating, and defamatory posts. Taking this step can stop the spread of vicious and vile rumors from doing any further harm. However, because cyberbullying is a serious issue and may create issues involving the school district and criminal liability, content removal should proceed under the watchful eye of an attorney who can proceed strategically and methodically while preserving evidence.
The Internet defamation removal lawyers of Meyers Roman Friedberg & Lewis LPA may be able to fight to remove cyberbullying and other defamatory content from the Internet while handling other important aspects of the defamation. To schedule a free and confidential defamation removal consultation call our firm at (216) 373-7706 or schedule a meeting online.
What Is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is essentially any type of bullying that takes place online or through technological means. Cyberbullying can occur on online social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and other sites. Cyberbullying can also occur on online message boards, in online chat rooms, and in a variety of other locations. Cyberbullying can even take place through text messages, group texts, and iMessage. Essentially any means of electronic communication that can be used to threaten, intimidate, harass, or transmit insults can be used in a cyberbullying campaign. Many times, the harassment will utilize a number of these electronic devices together.
What Are the Consequences of Cyberbullying?
The consequences of cyberbullying can range in severity from hurt self-esteem to increasingly dire consequences. Kids and teens who are bullied may end up losing friends and facing a narrowed social circle. They may experience a significant amount of anxiety, fear, and other emotional consequences. Due to the nature of cyberbullying that can reach a target at any time and at any place, they may feel a sense of vulnerability and like nowhere is safe. In particularly severe cases of cyberbullying or when the target is especially affected by the insults and abuse disastrous consequences may follow. If cyberbullying is not handled, it can result in particularly dire consequences. The target of the abuse may engage in violent means or he or she may attempt to injure or kill themselves as a cry for help.
Cyber Bullying can Cross the Line into Criminal Conduct
It is important to note that in a number of cases cyberbullying can cross the line into criminal behavior. What exactly constitutes a criminal act in relation to cyberbullying depends on the state that you reside in. Some states have enacted specific statutes that criminalize cyberbullying. For instance, New Jersey passed a “cyber-harassment” law in January 2014, that prohibits “making a communication in an online capacity via any electronic device or through a social networking site and with the purpose to harass another” when threatening harm, sending lewd or indecent materials, and in other circumstances.
However, even in states that do not have specific online harassment or cyberbullying statutes, online harassment can cross the line into criminal conduct when it involves:
- Making violent threats that place the target in fear of harm.
- Sending sexual pictures (sexting)
- Committing hate crimes
- Harassing someone because of their race, religion, gender, or other aspects that may be covered under hate speech laws
- Using embarrassing information or false information in an extortion scheme
- Making death threats against a victim
- Making constant and repeated threats or obscene communications
- Actually physically attacking or assaulting the target of the online threats
These and other acts can elevate cyberbullying into crimes. If your child is the victim of acts of this type, you may have additional legal options.
Looking to Remove Online Cyberbullying Posts?
If you are looking to remove online posts that target your son and daughter, the Internet cyberbullying and defamation removal Aaron Minc of Meyers Roman Friedberg & Lewis LPA may be able to fight for you. We understand that cyberbullying raises an array of issues and will proceed aggressively and strategically to protect your child. To schedule a free and confidential consultation call (216) 373-7706 or schedule a meeting online.