Bullying might invoke images of schoolyard conflicts—slammed lockers and scattered textbooks. Cyberbullying, while still somewhat new, takes on a whole other meaning in a whole other playground.
For starters, there are no prohibitions against bullying in Pennsylvania—only statutes that insist schools have a policy against it. Cyberbullying on the other hand may have misdemeanor penalties attached to their charges. Felony charges can run adjacent to it if the courts link a charge of computer crimes. Being accused, falsely or not, has severe repercussions on you or your child’s future.
Pennsylvania attorney general’s website discusses what can be considered cyberbullying in regards to children:
- Inflammatory content with the aim to upset
- Creating websites that ridicule others
- Posting cruel or vicious about a person
This is broad in the interest of protecting as many victims as possible. Creating a definition that is too narrow may create loopholes with a technology as versatile as computers and the internet. It is important to be aware how the broad definition may allow others to exploit it.
Cyberbullying all grown up
This harassment extends past the antics of minors and carries more severe penalties. Online stalking, Facebook harassment and even hurtful messages sent through text are cyberbullying. Any crime committed can equal a charge—any crime committed using a computer can equal a charge plus another computer crimes charge on top of it.
We encourage you to read more into this topic by navigating through our website. The internet can still be the wild west in terms of legal clarity sometimes and it is best to inform yourself before the need to call representation.