Cyber bullying has been a growing problem across the United States and internationally over the past several years. Many parents and children have questions about what is being done to prevent it and punish those who commit the offenses. They may also wonder what legal courses of action may be taken when cyber bullying has taken place and how to get legal justice for it. There are some steps that can be taken to provide as much information about the incident as possible. The more useful the information is that is gathered, the better actions that can be taken to correct the problem.
• Preserve any evidence. One of your best defenses may be to cover all your bases and make sure that any bullying is documented as much as possible. Make and save (or even print) copies of threatening or aggressive e-mail communications, chat conversations, IM messages, text messages, blog posts, etc. and if possible, keep track of who they were sent by and when. These precautions may be one of the best ways to get justice for cyber bullying.
• Try to safely identify the bully. If you know who is bullying you (or think you know who is bullying you) either ask them to stop or ask their parents to help. They may just think they were having a good joke and really didn’t mean any harm. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this by yourself, ask a friend or even better, a parent to help you properly approach the situation.
• Ask for assistance from the service provider to correct the issue. The service provider usually has more information about the person who has a profile with their service than what you may see when you use it (the username or profile name). If you can document that someone has been threatening you through a certain profile, they will be better able to investigate the problem and take any action necessary to keep the person from using the service anymore.
• In serious cases, ask for help from law enforcement. There may be times when it is necessary to involve someone with more authority and ability to enforce than a service provider or just family members. Police or other law enforcement may need to be contacted if there are physical threats involved in cyber bullying or if you think you are in danger because of what someone says. Again be sure to document as much of it as you can, because this may help authorities find and resolve problems sooner than they could without them. Don’t call the police for every junk e-mail you get, but do evaluate each situation to determine if there really is some type of potential danger involved.
• Don’t repeat or send threats of your own. One problem that can occur when someone is being bullied online is that they may feel so angry or distressed that they even begin to make their own threats toward the person who began the actions. Be sure to avoid this at all costs because you are just perpetuating the problem. Sometimes the victim also becomes an offender when they go too far by taking matters into their own hands to correct offenses. Be sure to involve someone else with authority if you feel there is a need to take action, and make sure that you don’t become a bully yourself.
• Stay informed about what your options are. Another important part of getting legal justice for cyber bullying is to stay informed about what actions can and should be taken. Try to keep updated about current legislation that prohibits or tries to prevent such instances. There are many ways to research these types of things online. But with all research, make sure that you are getting your information from a reputable source.
• Ask politicians to address the problem so legislation can keep up with technology. Be active in the processes set in place to create and enact new laws and rules so that people can be safer online. When you have a concern that you think should be addressed, tell someone. They may not know there is a concern about a certain thing unless someone tells them about it.
There are many ways to try and get legal justice for being bullied online. Proper judgment should be used when considering options and action plans. Always make sure that you are not the one who is harassing another person and that proper authorities are contacted, for the right reasons, about problems that arise. There are ways you can be safer online and make it safer for others too.