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Document Type

Note

Publication Date

12-2010

Publication Citation

63 Federal Communications Law Journal 311 (2010)

Abstract

The advent of new technologies such as social media websites like MySpace and Facebook have increased the methods through which bullying takes form and causes harm to children and teenagers. As the public has become more aware of the dangers of this new form of bullying, cyberbullying, legislators have responded by proposing legislation to criminalize this type of behavior with varying degrees of success. This Note explains the problem of cyberbullying and evaluates state and federal legislative efforts to combat the issue through criminalization, then argues that prevention through education will be the most effective solution. Unlike criminalization, educational initiatives are not likely to lead to overcriminalization, jeopardize First Amendment freedoms, or rely too heavily on prosecutorial discretion. Rather, they are more easily adaptable, and thus more able to adjust to and incorporate changing technology and any associated dangers. Rather than focusing on where to draw lines in criminalizing cyberbullying, legislators need to focus on increasing awareness of through education on the associated dangers in order to best prepare children to avoid and deal with cyberbullying and its related technological hazards.