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Ohio students push for rigid anti-cyberbullying legislature

Columbus criminal defense lawyer

Could your child be a bully under your own roof?

Bullying has gone beyond bruises and scrapes to online bashing and threats. Where once parents and authority figures could see the physical signs of bullying, now many are left completely unaware the trauma their students are experiencing online.

While Ohio’s anti-bullying laws already include cyberbullying, students from 30 Ohio high schools are urging lawmakers to pass more anti-cyberbullying legislature. The bill, which would make electronic harassment illegal, passed the House last year.

Columbus criminal defense lawyerIn February, students in the WhoaMan movement gathered at the statehouse to push for a cyberbullying bill.

Marie Klein, a WhoaMan leader, told 10TV that she’s fed up with reading sexist jokes and comments online, some of which lead to cyberbullying.

“This is really prevailing because our age group is constantly on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. You name it we’re on it, and it’s 24 hours a day seven days a week,” said Klein.

However, opponents argue against its First Amendment shortcomings.

“The lawyers we’ve had look at this legislation are not satisfied that it would pass constitutional muster,” Dennis Hetzel, executive director of the Ohio Newspaper Association, told 10TV.  “It could be interpreted in certain situations to hold a media outlet, a newspaper, a radio station, a television station liable for harassing or inciting someone to bully and we think it needs to be clarified.”

Cyberbullying by the numbers

Even parents who are familiar with the term ‘cyberbullying’ are completely naive to the drastic scope it has taken. Nobullying.com released some sobering numbers in its 2014 cyberbullying statistics:

  • 25 percent of teenagers report that they have experienced repeated bullying via their cell phone or on the internet.
  • 52 percent off young people report being cyber bullied.
  • Embarrassing or damaging photographs taken without the knowledge or consent of the subject has been reported by 11 percent of adolescents and teens.
  • Of the young people who reported cyber bullying incidents against them, 33 percent of them reported that their bullies issued online threats.
  • Over half (55 percent) of all teens who use social media have witnessed outright bullying via that medium.
  • An astounding 95 percent of teens who witnessed bullying on social media report that others, like them, have ignored the behavior.
  • More than half of young people surveyed say that they never confide in their parents when cyberbullying happens to them.
  • Only one out of every six parents of adolescents and teens are even aware of the scope and intensity involved with cyber bullying.
  • About half of young people have experienced some form of cyber bullying; among them, between 10 and 20 percent experience cyber bullying regularly.

Fight back against cyberbullying

If your child has been accused of cyberbullying, get in touch with your Columbus criminal defense attorney at Yavitch & Palmer today.

Photo Credit: AMELIA SPEED via Compfight cc

ynpedit22Learn more about experienced Columbus criminal defense attorney, Stephen Palmer, today.

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