Make no mistake about it; law enforcement officials in New Jersey take cyberbullying very seriously. While many kids are familiar with the usual playground, hallway and cafeteria bullying that goes on far too much in schools and neighborhoods throughout New Jersey, cyberbullying is far more insidious. It’s relatively easy for a cyberbully to hide behind a fake name when they are calling other kids names, posting inappropriate content including photos, and making other students’ lives miserable.
The reality is that many families in New Jersey view bullying as just another harmless kid’s activity. “Sticks and stones” and all that. However, bullying at large – and especially cyberbullying — can have long-term effects on a child. The results of being bullied online can causes serious depression, anxiety, sleeplessness and stress. Worse, many bullied children have considered, and succeeded at, suicide
Cyberbullying is defined as using electronic devices to harass or intimidate another person. While this is a teen activity for the most part, younger children and even adults have gotten in on the nefarious behavior. New Jersey’s cyberbullying laws are severe. Cases of cyberbullying are handled by school officials when the activities impact school. However, families can opt to bring law enforcement in at any time. Since there are HIB Laws in place (harassment, intimidation and bullying) reports of cyberbullying are always addressed.
It’s considered cyberbullying , according to N.J. Stat. Ann. §2C:33-4.1, when the activity “includes making threats to inflict injury or harm on the victim or the victim’s property, and knowingly sending materials intended to emotionally harm the victim or place the victim in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm.” Examples include posting comments on Facebook, send a threatening text or emailing a lewd photo meant to embarrass someone.
When cyberbullying is taken to the extreme, actions such as stalking are present. If conduct is repeated, there are even more harsh laws in place to deal with that activity — N.J. Stat. Ann. §2C:12-10.
If your child is being bullied, either face-to-face or online, you must get involved. The first thing to do is contact the school if the problems are impacting your child at school. Second, contact a knowledgeable lawyer at Davis & Mendelson who will protect your child’s rights and your family’s interests. New Jersey has a no tolerance policy against cyberbullying; we’ll put the laws to work for you.