Cyberbullying and the Law

Cole Music 1st Period

Statistics

1) In the US 42% of kids have experienced bullying online

2) In the US 53% admit to being perpetrators of mean or hurtful messages to another person via the Internet.

3) Only 18 states have definitive cyberbullying laws as of December, 2013

4) 5 states are proposing to add cyberbullying laws this year

5) while cyberbullying as a term is not stated, Alabama’s policies include “electronic forms of bullying”. Such is the case with 29 other states without a cyber bullying law.

6) 95% of social media-using teens who have witnessed cruel behavior on social networking sites say they have seen say the have seen others ignoring the mean behavior; 55% witness this frequently

7) Only 7% of US parents are worried about cyberbullying

8) When bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time

9) More than 80% of teens regularly use cell phones, making them the most popular form of technology and therefore a common medium for cyberbullying.

10) 95% of teens who witnessed cyberbullying report that others, like them, have ignored the behavior

Helpful websites to learn more about cyberbullying

Consequences of cyberbullying

In addition to being expelled from school and sports activities, there are serious consequences for cyberbullying. According to iKeepSafe.org, everything from civil lawsuits to criminal charges being filed against the bullying can result from what seems to be harmless acts of harrasment.
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The Story of Megan Meier

Megan was a 13 year old girl with ADD. She ran to her mom excited one day that a cute boy friend requested her on Facebook. Her mom asked if she knew him and she answered negatively so her mom was a littler wary about the situation. Josh started talking to Megan and told her that he was home-schooled and had no access to mobile phones so she never got to hear his voice or see him in person. For several months, all that Megan did was go to school and rush home to go online to talk to Josh, she was happy, she was glowing, she was in love with a boy who told her she was pretty. On a Sunday in October 2006, Megan received a message from Josh saying he didn’t want to be friends with her anymore because he heard she wasn’t nice to her friends. Megan asked him what he was talking about and the next day he replied with hateful messages and started posting them publicly on Megan’s page and some others had joined the hate party.Before Tina, Megan’s mother, could get out the door it was clear Megan was upset. Josh still was sending troubling messages. And he apparently had shared some of Megan’s messages with others. She asked her daughter to sign off myspace and even called to make sure she did but her response was "no mom, they're all being so mean to me." Fifteen minutes later, Megan called her mother. By now Megan was in tears because they were now calling her fat and a slut. Her mother was now furious with Megan that she didn't sign off. Once her mother came home she rushed into the basement where the computer was. Tina was shocked at the vulgar language her daughter was saying back to people. Megan stormed away saying "you're supposed to be my mom!" The next day Megan Meier committed suicide. A few days later her father Ron opened her myspace account to see what everyone had said to his now deceased daughter. The final message Megan saw before she killed herself said this “Everybody in O’Fallon knows how you are. You are a bad person and everybody hates you. Have a shitty rest of your life. The world would be a better place without you.” Six weeks after Megan died, on a Saturday morning, a neighbor down the street, one they didn’t know well, called and insisted that they meet that morning at a counselor’s office in northern O’Fallon, their hometown. She told the Meiers that Josh Evans was created by adults, a family on their block. These adults, she told the Meiers, were the parents of Megan’s former bestfriend, the one she had a falling out with.The Meiers have, since then, take it upon themselves to educate teens and youth about bullying and cyberbullying, they created the Megan Meier Foundation to share Megan’s story and say one essential message, Megan Meier did not die for nothing. Her tragic story should continue to be a reminder against the evil waves of cyberbullying and bullying taking over lives all over the globe.