Cyberbullying Combated with Defamation Laws

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Cyberbullying is a growing epidemic all over the world. Today, children and teens are bullied more on the Internet than in person, thanks to smartphones and social media. It includes the use of information technology to threaten, harass, annoy or humiliate another person. The impacts of this kind of harassment can be severe and include depression and suicide. It’s true, it is lethal, but is it viewed as a crime in the eyes of the law?

Cyberbullying Combated with Defamation Laws - Cyberbullying - Top4

What is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is very similar to what traditional bullying is known as, except it exists on the Internet. This makes it hard for parents and teachers to notice, but easy for the victim’s peers to see. Cyberbullying occurs when someone uses a digital or mobile device to harass, threaten, or humiliate another person. Recent statistics have shown that it exists most commonly on the social networking platforms of Instagram (42%), Facebook (37%), and Snapchat (31%).

Examples of Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying does not have to be a threat of physical violence but can be a verbal electronic posting or the transmission of an image that depicts or alleges that the victim committed certain humiliating acts. Exposing extremely personal or confidential information online or through texting that the victim did not want to reveal also constitutes cyberbullying. Examples of cyberbullying include:
• Posting embarrassing or offensive videos of someone
• Threatening someone by email or texting
• Hacking into someone’s social media site, and posting derogatory or embarrassing messages
• Transmitting offensive, personal or confidential information about someone online or by cell phone

Possible Charges

A person who commits an act of bullying by use of an electronic device can be charged with the specific crime of cyberbullying in some states or with more general offenses including:
• Civil rights violations
• Criminal harassment
• Terroristic threats
• Domestic violence (Internet stalking)

A victim of this type of crime can pursue civil remedies such as a suit for defamation, invasion of privacy, or intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress. In these circumstances, a civil lawyer experienced in defamation defense or personal injury actions cases would be essential for the accused.

Using Defamation as a Defense Weapon

When someone is bullying, chances are they may be spreading lies about their victim. This is why many victims and parents have been utilizing defamation statutes to combat cyberbullying. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes it does and works very well. But the impact of using defamation laws to combat this type of crime largely depends on the jurisdiction the defamation case is being filed in.

Consult With A Cyberbullying Lawyer

If you or a family member is a victim of cyberbullying, consider legal action. Different jurisdictions follow different rules and depending on where you live, you may have a solid case. Consult with an experienced cyberbullying lawyer today.

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