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Cyberbullying Laws Around the Globe: Where is Legislation Strongest?

By Tim Woda on October 16, 2014 at 7:56 PM

Cyberbullying has become a major problem in this world. Over the past decade, this type of bullying has claimed the lives of many children and adolescents across the globe. It is estimated that half of adolescents have been the victims of cyberbullying. An astonishing one in three children and teens have been victims of online cyberthreats.

The statistics are startling, but not all hope is lost. Because cyberbullying has become such a damaging and deadly issue, lawmakers have created cyberbullying laws to help protect victims from online bullies and to bring these bullies to justice. 

There are several states, countries, and territories across the globe that have implemented strong and seemingly effective cyberbullying laws. Although some locations are prepared to crack down on cyberharassment, others are still catching up with the times. View our list displaying countries and states with strong, average, and loose cyberbullying laws.

The strongest cyberbullying laws in the world:

  • Canada- Under the Education Act, individuals who engage in cyberbullying face suspension from school. Repeat bullies may also face expulsion and possible jail time.

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Audrie's Law Moving Through California State Legislature

By Tim Woda on May 19, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Legislation has been introduced in the California state legislature that would make it a felony to share sexually explicit images of young people or images of their body parts on social media or smart phones for the purpose of bullying them. It is part of a package of legal changes that would close a legal loophole that makes it a less serious crime to rape someone who is physically or mentally incapacitated than to rape someone who is of clear mind.

The cyberbullying part of the bill is called ”Audrie’s Law” after a young woman named Audrie Pott who died as result of a sexually inspired act of cyberbullying.

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Two Teen Sexting Incidences Reported in New Jersey This Week

By Tim Woda on May 18, 2014 at 11:54 AM

New Jersey is one of the few states that has a somewhat "lenient" sexting law, which punishes most minors caught sexting with mandatory educational programs. The state is having quite a trying week, with the recent news of two sexting incidences reported in separate New Jersey schools. 

According to ABC7 Eyewitness News, nude photos of several students were discovered on multiple students' phones in Somerset County's Basking Ridge Middle School. Superintendent Nick Markarian sent out a letter about the incident to parents, informing them on the events and providing them a chance to "clean things up" before criminal charges are soon filed. Markarian is encouraging parents to have their kids delete and cease distribution of the viral nude photos.

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Colorado Anti-Cyberbullying Law Rejected by State Legislature

By Tim Woda on April 29, 2014 at 4:25 PM

One of the vexing problems brought about by the Internet and social media is the phenomenon of cyberbullying. Unlike traditional bullying, cyberbullying does not involve actual physical confrontation. Indeed the cyberbully who posts harassing and threatening messages on Facebook and other social media is often not even identified. As a result, some victims of cyberbullying have been driven to suicide, so powerless do they feel to stop it. Many states have attempted or are currently attempting to invoke real change for cyberbullying victims by passing anti-cyberbullying laws.

Earlier today we published a blog post about a new anti-cyberbullying bill sweeping through Florida's legislature. A few months ago, a similar bill in Colorado received massive support and approval from the state's House of Representatives. However, the Colorado cyberbullying law was recently rejected by the Colorado Senate. 

The Colorado legislature was striving to equip the state’s law enforcement agencies with tools to combat cyberbullying. According to Channel 7 News in Denver, HB 14-1131, was a bill that would have specifically made cyberbullying a crime. Initially, the bill was successful, as it passed the Colorado House Education Committee unanimously and passed the state Senate in a 54-10 vote.

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New Anti-Cyberbullying Bill: Will it Change How Bullies are Charged?

By Tim Woda on April 29, 2014 at 11:22 AM

Recently, the state of Florida is moving to extend and add some teeth to its anti-cyberbullying law. The new legislation is inspired by the suicide of a 12-year-old girl Rebecca Ann Sedwick after having been alleged to have been cyberbullies by two other girls, who remain unidentified because they are minors, in the town of Lakeland. The Florida state Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice has advanced the bill.

Currently cyberbullying is a crime in Florida, but there are no criminal penalties attached. The proposed legislation would align cyberbullying with the physical kind. It would make both cyberbullying and physical bullying a second degree misdemeanor and aggravated cyberbullying a first degree misdemeanor, subject to a jail term of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000.

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Peer Jury Finds Teen Girls Engage in 'Vicious' Cyberbullying

By Tim Woda on April 6, 2014 at 11:17 AM

Check out what one peer jury comminuty service administrator has to say about the differences between male and female cyberullying cases. This article was originally published on the Chicago Tribune by Karen Ann Cullotta.

While boys appear before the New Trier Township Peer Jury more than three times as much as girls, officials said recently that they are troubled by the severity of the cyberbullying crimes committed by teen girls.

Brian Leverenz, New Trier Township's community service administrator, said of the 35 teens who appeared before the township's peer jury in 2013, 27 were males and 8 were females.

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20 High Schoolers Suspended for Retweeting Gossip, Cyberbullying

By Tim Woda on March 18, 2014 at 5:41 PM

Is your teen active on Twitter? If so, it's probably a great idea to show this blog post to your high school teen or tween. 

20 students at an Oregon High School were suspended earlier this month for retweeting allegations about a female teacher flirting with students. According to the Huffington Post article below, administrators at the school say retweeting the post amounted to a form of cyberbullying, and that the students’ behavior violated the district student handbook, which defines cyberbullying as the "use of any electronic communication device to harass, intimidate or bully."

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4 Ways to Handle Cyberbullying

By Tim Woda on October 27, 2013 at 3:41 PM

DoSomething.org reports students who are cyberbullied have up to nine times higher chances of suicide. Cyberbullying comes in many forms: stalking, harassment and identity theft are three common forms. Self-esteem problems, unwillingness to go to school, and engaging in bullying behavior of their own are signs that your child might be a victim of cyberbullying. If your child has plunging grades and doesn't want to hang out with their friends, it's time to take a look into what's going on in his or her life.

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Teens Get Online 'Eraser Button' With New California Law

By Tim Woda on October 19, 2013 at 1:43 PM

This article was originally published in the Huffington Post by Kathleen Miles.

California teens get an online "eraser button" under a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday.  The law makes California the first state to require websites to allow people younger than 18 to remove their own postings on that website, and to clearly inform minors how to do so.

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Think Sexting Can't Land Your Child in Jail? Think Again

By Steven Woda on September 23, 2013 at 1:45 PM

This article was originally posted on The Huffington Post.

The trial of a Victoria-area teen who is facing child pornography charges for allegedly texting a nude picture of another girl without her consent will go ahead before a constitutional challenge, a judge has ruled.

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Anti-Bullying Rules Announced by Ireland's Department of Education

By Steven Woda on September 15, 2013 at 9:11 AM

A big win for cyber-bullying prevention in Ireland happened a few days ago. Read the excerpt from the original post by the Irish Examiner.

Cyber-bullying, homophobic and racist bullying all form part of the Department of Education's new anti-bullying measures.

All primary and secondary schools will have to adopt an anti-bullying policy by no later than the end of term next Summer.

Teachers will be responsible for recording bullying incidents and, where necessary, contacting the parents of the pupils involved.

The Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children has welcomed the measures.

"Online bullying is very prevalent and it's certainly something we would like to address and it's been mentioned within the procedures by the Department of Education," said Andrew Jackson, national anti-

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"I Was Jailed for Cyberbullying"

By Tim Woda on September 14, 2013 at 5:23 PM

Read the account from the first British person to be jailed for cyber bullying She speaks of her regret at posting a death threat online. 

Keeley Houghton, 18, was sent to a young offenders' institute for three months in 2009 after writing on a social networking site that she was going to "murder" a fellow teenage girl.

The incident happened after an ongoing feud with Keeley's victim. Keeley said she she attempted to apologise to the girl on the night before she posted the message, but says her victim wouldn't listen.

"It was understandable, but I was so angry, even through to the next day," Keeley recalled on This Morning today (12 September).

"I was sat with a friend at my house and I wrote what I wrote. I don't even know what I was thinking. I didn't think she would see it. I wasn't friends with her on the social networking site."

Keeley, who is now a reformed character, removed the message within 24 hours and explained: "I knew it was wrong. I thought about it and thought, 'No, I shouldn't have written it'. So I just took it down.

"I don't know why I said it. It wasn't a threat I was going to go through with, it was just something I wrote at the time." 

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Teen Sexting Criminalized by States

By Tim Woda on August 31, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Here is some great information about current laws in US states in regard to sexting from the blog at Lawyers.com.

States continue to outlaw sexting by teens – to each other or to adults – even as it grows more popular among them.

 The Problem of Permanence

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Cyberbullying Laws Implemented at State Level: Will it Matter?

By Steven Woda on August 14, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Cyberbullying has now been deemed a cultural problem by some media outlets, and it might have to be blamed on the contentious media culture that people see. Since federal laws on cyberbullying are still non-existent, one has to wonder how existing state laws on cyberbullying are working. As of now, 34 states have cyberbullying laws, even though we still hear so much about kids being harrassed online in every state.

But what new states are joining the fray? And will state laws make any real difference without federal action?

Oklahoma the Latest to Pass a New Law

Recently, the anti-bullying law Bill 1661 was signed into law in Oklahoma by the state's governor, Gov. Mary Fallin. While it addresses the problem of bullying in general, it specifically hones in on cyberbullying so schools can use law enforcement to intervene. The bill allows schools to keep internal records of

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FBI Calls Cyberbullying a 'Significant Issue' For Law Enforcement

By Steven Woda on July 10, 2013 at 10:47 AM

This article was originally published on Digital Journal by Marvin Dumon. It can be accessed here. 

Cyberbullying can be more pervasive than traditional forms of bullying. Bullying at school as well as pranks can be more easily detected by teachers, administrators and fellow students.

A recent bulletin on cyberbullying and sexting published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) advises law enforcement agencies across the U.S. that “the growth of cell phones and Internet usage among teens has altered youth social and conduct norms.”

The FBI cyberbullying report adds that “cyberbullying is one of the most significant new issues law enforcement has to address. Anecdotal and research-based accounts from police across the nation depicted a lack of clear guidance, training, and support. This is unfortunate because bullying is an age-old problem with recent forms often relying on technological devices and mediums.”

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Cyberbullying Laws: Enforcement Difficulties in Schools

By Tim Woda on April 4, 2013 at 4:12 PM

As more and more states enact tougher measures to prevent and punish cyberbullying -- like Delaware’s recent anti-cyberbullying law, many lessons can be learned from other states having difficulties with enforcing and reporting bullying occurrences.

For example, The Albany Times-Union uncovered several problems with the effectiveness of the New York school systems. Last year, New York’s “The Dignity for All Students Act” increased bullying penalties for incidents on school grounds. Its anti-cyberbullying provisions won’t take effect until July.

The troublesome enforcement aspects under its existing compliance system could magnify when the anti-cyberbullying legislation goes into effect. Here’s some of what the reporters discovered:

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Legal Concerns About Sexting

By Tim Woda on March 11, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Sexting is a growing trend as more and more people use cell phones for more activities. As an adult, the decision to sext is left to an individual (though still discouraged) but if your child is sexting, could he or she face criminal charges? The negatives of pre-teens or teenagers sexting are plenty but being prosecuted for child-pornography is also a possibility. 

How someone underage can be prosecuted:

Sending nude photos via text is a relatively new problem for law enforcement. Prosocuters try to keep child pornography from plaguing a society but your child could be caught up in it. Survey's show that about 1 out of every 5 teenagers have either performed or received some form of sexting. The problem is wide-spread and may only continue to grow. 

Teenagers from multiple states have been prosecuted and are facing criminal charges that could affect the rest of their life. Here are a few things that you need to know:

  • Children are being prosecuted because most states and federal law consider any photo of a person under 18 to be a form of child pornography, no matter if the teenager was taking the picture of him or herself.

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Current Anti-Bullying and Cyberbullying Movements Around the Country

By Tim Woda on March 6, 2013 at 1:20 PM

Bullying and cyberbullying are two of the most serious issues you will face in raising your children. These behaviors pose an immediate threat to your child's safety and if they are not handled swiftly they can cause long-term psychological damage that can affect everything from their personal relationships to their performance in school. Fortunately, parents, educators, and counselors across America are responding to these behaviors with some new and innovative approaches.

Leading the way, the federal government created Stopbullying.gov. Essentially, this is a one-stop shop of tools and resources where parents and educators can search for information that they can use at home, at school, and within their own communities. This fantastic resource provides information on how to recognize bullying, how to respond when it is discovered, and how to prevent it from reoccurring in the future. 

While resources such as this have been extremely helpful in providing communities with support and information, some states have decided to take their anti-bullying and anti-cyberbullying efforts even further. This past year, the State of Delaware began considering legislation that would make it mandatory for schools in the state to report bullying and cyberbullying.

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Sexting Is Just the Beginning

By Tim Woda on February 27, 2013 at 5:03 PM

With the relatively new ability to send images and videos through technology, people of all ages are taking advantage of this ability to connect to others. Unfortunately, it has also led to the evolution of “sexting.” While this is legal for adults (but still risky), it is not for minors and can have serious consequences on a minor’s emotional state, not to mention their professional and academic future.

Depending on the minor, the situation in which the sexting occurs, and how it is handled, the ramifications can vary greatly. However, it almost always leads to some negative effects for the teen.

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Cyberbullying And The Laws That Govern It

By Tim Woda on February 15, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Many people have been asking me if there are any laws or legislation in place to govern cyberbullying.  I have pulled together a list of the states laws on bullying and what they mean in a short blog post below. 

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