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What is cyberbullying or electronic harassment?

In one of our recent blog posts, we discussed criminal harassment. If you recall, harassment over the Internet was a topic that we briefly mentioned. That type of harassment is considered cyberbullying, which can be construed as a criminal action.

What is cyberbullying?

In the most general terms, cyberbullying involves using the Internet or mobile technologies to harm, harass or intimidate a person. This can be done in a variety of methods, including email, social media, text messages, instant messages or chat sessions. Physical contact isn't required for a person to be charged with cyberbullying. In some cases, even posting unflattering pictures of another person can be construed as cyberbullying if the pictures lead to that student becoming a target of jokes and harassing behavior.

Is cyberbullying a charge of its own?

In most areas, cyberbullying falls under the general umbrella of criminal harassment. That gives prosecutors a wide range of charges to choose from when placing a criminal charge against a person. Some cases might be misdemeanors, while others would be felonies. In some cases, cyberbullying might be considered nothing more than a civil matter, which means a person who is accused of cyberbullying wouldn't face criminal charges if there aren't any criminal elements present in the alleged event.

Being accused of electronic harassment is something that is very serious. Because this type of harassment is still fairly new, it is vital that anyone facing these types of criminal charges works to understand how charges regarding Internet crimes might affect his or her case. From there, the defendant could make decisions about how to handle a defense strategy.

Source: FindLaw, "Cyberbullying," accessed June 30, 2015

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