Legal Advice

The Legal Implications of Cyberbullying

The digital age has introduced many positive things into our lives. We now have the ability to connect instantaneously with loved ones around the world and access goods and services at the click of a button. However, along with these benefits, also comes a darker aspect. 

Technology can also be used to threaten, harass or intimidate another person, in a practice known as ‘cyberbullying’. With the rise of personal devices such as laptops and mobile phones, bullies can target their victims anywhere and at any time through text messages, social media, email, and other forms of digital communication. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the activities that can constitute cyberbullying and the legal implications surrounding this topic.

Examples of Cyberbullying

Unfortunately, cyberbullying has become a growing problem across the country with the percentage of students who have reported being a target of cyberbullying increasing by 55% since 2015 and more than trebling since 2007. While cyberbullying can take many forms, it can be mainly categorized as follows:

  • Harassment: This involves sending offensive, hateful or rude messages to another person or group of people. This could be via email, text messages, social media platforms,  or online forums.
  • Impersonation: This is when someone creates fake accounts on digital platforms such as social media or email accounts, pretending to be someone else. This might be through hacking or cloning an individual’s account details and using their identity to deceive or harass others.
  • Sharing private information: This refers to the sharing of private or sensitive information about another without their consent such as confidential emails or explicit videos or photographs of a person. This can include the sharing of sexually explicit or nude text messages, or ‘sexts,’ without the sender’s consent. You can learn more information on ‘is sexting a crime’ by visiting this site.

Legal Aspects of Cyberbullying 

The legal implications of cyberbullying can vary from state to state. While there is, as yet, no specific federal law that addresses cyberbullying in the U.S., such cases can be a civil or criminal law matter.

In civil cases, the victims of cyberbullying may be able to seek damages or other legal remedies through the civil courts. It may be possible for the victim to file a personal injury claim asserting that they have been injured or harmed by the defendant’s actions.

For instance, they may be seeking compensation for the emotional distress or psychological trauma they have suffered as a result of the defendant’s actions. They may also sue the defendant for defamation which is a civil wrong or tort. To be successful, the plaintiff would have to prove that the defendant published false statements about them that resulted in reputational damage.

In other cases, the victims of cyberbullying may be able to bring criminal charges against their perpetrators under existing criminal laws such as harassment, stalking, revenge porn laws, and hate crime laws. The penalties for cyberbullying will depend on whether a criminal or civil action is brought and the laws applicable in that state.

As the digital world continues to evolve, so too will the legal landscape relating to cyberbullying, ensuring victims are protected and justice is served.

Shafiq Ch

Shafiq Ch is SEO service provider and writer at NCVLE (New Citizens Viability Law Enforcement). He discusses SEO, guest posts, backlinks, and on-page content issues. He is helping lawyers to rank their sites on the top pages of SERPs.

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