Anyone, regardless of age or gender, can be a victim of cyberbullying. And no one is immune from its harmful effects. Decreased school performance, depression and anxiety, and even suicide can be the tragic result of a tween or teen who is pushed over the line by bullying. A new bill in New York attempts to make cyberbullies more accountable for their actions, especially when they end tragically.
Under the bill proposed in New York, the definition of second degree manslaughter would be expanded to include “bullycide” – online bullying that prompts the victim to ultimately take his or her own life. The bill would also expancd third degree stalking to include cyberbullying, as well.
However, there might be some problems with implementing the new bill if it were to become law. Most suicides – including those that are precipitated by cyberbullying – are a combination of many factors. Punishing cyberbullies for the suicide does not take into account the other issues going on at school, at home, or in a child’s personal life that may have also prompted the suicide.
Problems – How much bullying is punishable? How can someone else be held accountable for a suicide?
Conclusion – Parents agree that cyberbullying is a problem but disagree about what to do about it – is it the parent’s responsibility? The child’s? The teacher’s/school’s? The legislator’s?
Regardless of where you come down on this, I think we can all agree that cyberbullying is a problem that needs all of our attention. What do you think of this proposed bill?