Cyberbullying laws making headway

If you follow my blog at all, you know by now that I am passionate about eradicating cyberbullying and protecting our children against it in any way possible.  While I believe that protection and education are our best lines of defense, I also think that amending our laws to help combat and deter people from cyberbullying is another tool we should bolster to help us in the fight.

In Texas, Senate Bill 179, or ‘David’s Law‘, will soon be up for a vote on the state’s senate floor.  According to an article by KGNS news, “If passed, bullies could soon be seeing consequences and school district’s policies could change.”

If passed, the bill would cause the following changes:

  • School Districts would have to add cyberbullying and online harassment into their policies
  • School Districts would be required to anonymously report incidents
  • School officials would have 24 hrs to notify victim’s parents
  • The bully’s parents would also be notified of any incidents
  • School Districts would be empowered to investigate off-campus bullying if it impacts the school environment
  • Establishment of criminal offenses for the most severe cases
    • The offense would start as a Class B misdemeanor and develop to a class A misdemeanor in a case of multiple aggressors.

Frankly, I am glad to see our lawmakers taking this problem seriously.  I wish more states were being proactive in this fight against bullying and cyberbullying.  It is a problem that cannot remain ignored by our society and its government.  According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, many states have not made changes to their bullying laws in almost a decade.  They have a very informative and interactive chart that help to stay up on what each state is doing.

As I said before, I think that our legislatures do pay a crucial role in helping us combat this problem, but I think the biggest role is the one we play as parents.  Please, talk to you kids.  Take the time to know what is going on in their lives.  Also, use a service like ours at Cyber Watchtower to help you guard and protect the most precious and important people in your lives, your children.

Remember, stay connected.  Stay safe!

Austin Bynum
Chief Watchman
Cyber Watchtower

In addition to running Cyber Watchtower, Austin Bynum is also the proud father of teenage twin daughters.

Cyberbullying 101

By now, most parents have at least heard the term “Cyberbully”.  According to stopbullying.gov, cyberbullying is defines as, “bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites.

What surprises most people is when they learn how rampant of an issue it actually is.  Several different surveys have uncovered that roughly 1 in every 3 teens today has been cyberbullied at some point.  Even more alarming than that statistic is the steady increase over the past several years in teen suicides directly related to major cases of cyberbullying.

There are no shortage of special interest groups being formed to help combat the severity of this increasing problem as well as educating the general public.  In fact, David’s Legacy Foundation, named for David Molak, a victim of cyberbullying and teen suicide, has been working on “David’s Law“.  This is a bill that would make electronic harassment of a minor a misdemeanor and goes before the Texas legislature next year.

We at Cyber Watchtower take a very special interest in this onging problem and are trying to do all we can to help parents and kids learn and protect themselves.  Having 2 teenage daughters myself, not only do I fear for their physical safety, but their emotional safety as well.  I encourage parents to please monitor what your kids are doing online.  This isn’t just Facebook and Twitter, this includes text messaging, chat rooms, email, and any other form of electronic communication.

We offer services including Social Media monitoring as well as device management.  Both of these allow us to watch for early signs of cyberbullying and stop it before it gets rolling.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us any time.  You can reach us at info@cyberwatchtower.com.