We live in a digital age, and our lives have evolved to reflect that. Crimes are committed online, games are played online, affairs are started online, and friendships are sustained online. We live our lives in a partially digital reality, and it’s evident in every aspect of what we do. From dating apps to smart houses, we use technology for everything – including the not so nice things. And bullying is one example of that. Although when its done online, it’s called cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is a growing problem. With the speed at which stories can spread, and the lack of self control so many people exhibit when watching things made available to them, cyberbullying has been held responsible for numerous teen suicides. So what can be done to address this issue? Many say closer monitoring of teens online activity is the answer, while others suggest anti bullying campaigns in schools. Perhaps all of these solutions play a role. But Michigan’s legislators have decided to take it a step further and make cyberbullying illegal.
Michigan’s answer to the cyberbullying problem:
House Representative Peter Lucido is the bill’s sponsor, although it has received wide bipartisan support. According to Lucido, who hails from Macomb County, Michigan, school districts in his Metro Detroit area have seen some terrible instances of cyber bullying, some of which have been fatal. Talking to kids about being kind isn’t enough, he says. There needs to be a law in place to protect victims of bullying and allowing law enforcement to do their part in keeping kids safe.
Michigan House Rep. Jon Hoadley agrees. “Culture is changing, society is changing and our laws have to keep up with that,” he says. “We would never tolerate someone in the physical world tormenting or harassing a kid to the point where they cause harm to themselves or others so why would we allow it in the cyberworld?”
Many states are choosing to make cyberbullying illegal.
Should this piece of legislation be signed into law, Michigan will join 38 other states who have already made cyberbullying illegal. Should that be the case, the consequences of cyberbullying in Michigan, which the new law defines as “harassing or intimidating behavior” will be quite severe. Anyone convicted of cyber bullying under the new law would face up to 93 days behind bars or a $500 fine. Anyone convicted of a second offense would be up against a one-year jail sentence and a $1,000 penalty. Cyber bullying causing injury or death would be a felony.
As top criminal defense attorneys who’ve handled more than our fair share of juvenile cases, we understand that many of these cases involve teenagers. It’s primarily teens who are the victims of cyberbullying, and usually teens who are guilty of perpetrating it. As parents we understand how important it is to keep kids from making bad choices that will land them behind bars. We recommend talking to your teens about internet etiquette and help them understand that being a bully to peers online could have very serious future consequences. Talk to your kids about the law, and try to help them understand the importance of making smart choices online, both for their safety and for the safety of others.
Do you need help with criminal charges in Michigan?
Whether it’s a poor choice online, or something much more real-world, our skilled and criminal defense attorneys can help. At The Kronzek Firm we’ve spent decades helping people in Michigan. We understand what’s involved in fighting a criminal charge, from Using a Computer to Commit a Crime, to Child Porn and Revenge Porn, we can help you!
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