Senate has introduced a bill that would prevent cyberbullying making it a crime. The bill also makes illegal other cyber activities that harm minors in other ways.
“In this modern age of advanced technology, twenty-four-hour connectivity, and social networking, students who are subjected to bullying, such as the texting or posting of sexually derogatory comments via such social networking sites or by other means, have no reprieve. Bullying that begins in school follows students home every day and has lasting impacts on such students,” states the bill findings.
Nonetheless of the origin, it “affects the school environment and disrupts the educational process thus impeding the ability of students to learn and too often causing devastating effects on students’ health and well-being.”
The bill defines cyberbullying as “causing physical harm to a student or damages the student’s property, causes emotional distress to a student, creates a hostile educational environment at school and substantially disrupts the orderly operation of the school.”
It also says that cyberbullying means using any type of technology to transfer “signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data..” including impersonating a person and creating a blog or webpage assuming another person’s identity.
Stalking which a Class C Felony is further defined to include cyberstalking.
The bill also includes cyberbullying using the internet to “intimidate or torment a minor”, including building a fake profile, posing as a minor, and communicating in various media such as chat rooms, instant messages, or following minors online.
It also makes it illegal for minors to use electronic communication devices like cellphones to send or show pictures of minors in explicit sexual materials.
The bill covers a range of activities using modern technology to abuse and exploit minors and not just cyberbullying.
The bill was introduced by Senators Mason Whipps, Regis Akitaya, Dr. Stevenson Kuartei, Andrew Tabelual, Umiich Sengebau, and Mark Rudimch.