New York legislators are currently working on a bill about cyber bullying, which is harassing or bullying an individual online. Cyber bulling is becoming a big problem in the U.S. While bullying at school has reportedly declined from 32 percent of students between the ages of 12 and 18 to 28 percent, online bullying has risen from four percent to six percent.
Lawmakers are currently working on legislative solutions. One state senator is pushing for criminal penalties for anyone who engages in cyber bullying. However, Governor Cuomo wants to look more closely at the issue before enacting criminal penalties for cyber bullying. Instead, he wants first to focus on public awareness of the problem and enacting requirements for schools to report any incidents of cyber bullying. Lawmakers will also have to work to develop a definition of cyber bullying.
Although cyber bullying can be very harmful to children, even in extreme cases leading children to commit suicide, it can be tough to criminalize. It is hard to define when playful teasing or even rude behavior online crosses the line into something criminal.
If cyber bullying does become a crime, it will join a long list of online activities that are illegal in New York, including cyber stalking, various types of online fraud, computer hacking, various types of piracy, internet gambling, child pornography and many others. According to NYC Personal Injury Lawyer Steve Raiser, victims of cyber bullying can sue for compensation.