With the increase in internet use, advancement in computer technologies and mobile phones across the globe; people has developed several ways of using these technologies for development and also for destruction. One of the highly destructive uses of technology today is in cyber-bullying. Research indicates that the issue of cyber-bullying affects the youth, especially the school going teenagers, as well as adults. According to Riittakerttu, Matti, Päivi and Arja (2000), cyber-bullying is the use of information technology to damage or bother other people in a deliberate way. It includes activities that use information technology to propagate hostile conduct by an individual or group, to harm another or others. Cyber-bullying can result in unfriendly mental, emotional and social impacts on people.
The legislation, Assembly Bill 86 2008
Assemblyman Ted Lieu proposed the Assembly Bill 86 in 2008 to enact nutritional reform in schools, and this bill has since gone through changes to become a piece of the cyber-bullying legislation. The California state lawmaking body passed the law to deal with cyber-bullying. The law includes sound and image communication via an electronic device as a form of communication that bullying can occur over. The Bill vests power to school institutions to discipline those who harass others, and even disconnect them from the Internet. School principals particularly have the authority to suspend students or in extreme cases, dispel them from the institution if they are guilty of cyber-bullying. The bill addresses cyber-bullying cases that occur in schools. However, it does not address cases that take place outside the school premises.
The New Jersey model policy 2011
The bill outlines ways through which schools should address students when posting messages on bullying. Schools’ policies are transparent to students, and the management should update the existing systems on a regular basis. Surdin (2009), mentions New Jersey’s model policy that addresses bullying by prohibiting intimidation, bullying on school property, harassment, any school-sponsored events, and on school buses.
Differences between California law New Jersey model policy
The California law considers digital harassing as much as it recognizes exemplary types of cyber-bullying. The bill addresses cyber-bullying and particularly vests power in Principals to either expel or suspend students if they prove guilty of such offenses. On the contrary, the New Jersey model policy outlines that school managements should investigate cyber-bullying by carrying out searches regularly. However, this New Jersey Bill does not address digital harassing amicably.
Influence of Cyber-bullying on Legislation
Information technology advancement has resulted to increase in cyber-bullying cases among all the teens and adults. However, owing to rampant cases of suicide or gruesome murder, authorities conduct public awareness seminars to enlighten the public about the dangers of cyber-bullying. The increase in Internet use among other social networking sites has brought about these unlawful acts that keep escalating. Indeed, cyber-bullying has affected a lot of people mentally and socially. Legislation to deal with cyber-bullying has been hard to pass at government and state levels because it is excessively vague and overly broad. However, the U.S government Criminal Codes penalizes and punishes any person that transmits in interstate or state, messages to intentionally bully others using information technology.
- Riittakerttu, K., Matti, R., Päivi, R., and Arja, R. (2000).‘Bullying at School: An Indicator of Adolescents at Risk for Mental Disorders.’23 Journal of Adolescence 661.
- Surdin, A. (2009). “States Passing Laws to Combat Cyber-Bullying — washingtonpost.com”. The Washington Post.Retrieved January 2, 2009.