What legislation has New York State enacted to prevent cyberbullying and protect students from bullying?


In October 2006,
Megan was a victim of cyber-bullying that occurred through the social
networking site, MySpace. The offender, Lori Drew, was the mother of Megans
female friend. Drew created a fake profile for a teenage boy and used the fake
profile to flirt with, befriend and then abandon Meier, leading Meier to hang
herself (McCarthy & Michels, 2009). Drew wasconvicted in November
2008of three misdemeanor counts of unauthorized access to computers for
violating MySpace’s terms of service, but this conviction was thrown out
(McCarthy & Michels, 2009).
legislation varies between states. Through laws (in their state education codes
and elsewhere) and model policies (that provide guidance to districts and
schools), each state addresses bullying differently (stopbullying.gov, 2015).
For this discussion I will evaluate the legislation for New York State since
this is where I live. New York State has enacted legislation that specifically
called on the school systems to regulate and monitor bullying. Dignity for All
Students Act to afford all students in public schools an environment free of
harassment and discrimination based on actual or perceived race, national
origin, ethnic group, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex;
passed by the NY State Senate on June 22, 2010, signed by the governor on
September 8, 2010 (cyberbullying.org, n.d.). Senate Bill S7740 was also
introduced and signed into legislation to help with the bullying that continues
once someone is no longer on school grounds. In todays age of advanced
technology, twenty-four hour connectivity and social networking, students who
are subjected to bullying, such as the texting or posting of sexually
derogatory comments via such social networking sites or by other means, have no
reprieve (The New York Senate, 2011-2012). Bullying that begins in school
follows students home every day, and has lasting impacts on such students (The
New York Senate, 2011-2012). Based on this information and looking over other
laws within other states the outcomes of Megan Meiers case would not be much
different. There are no federal cyberbullying laws. Most states have enacted
laws within the educational system. Drew could be charged with aggravated
harassment via computer which could be punishable with up to one year in jail.
This would have been more than she actually received, but it would not address
the fact that a young girl took her life.
(n.d.). State cyberbullying laws. Retrieved on June 28, 2016 from,
McCarthy, T.,
& Michels, S. (2009, July 2). Lori Drew MySpace suicide hoax conviction
thrown out.ABC News.Retrieved
(2015). Policies & laws. Retrieved on June 28, 2016 from,
The New York
Senate. (2011-2012). Senate bill S7740. Retrieved on June 28, 2016 from,
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It is important to recognize that cyberbullying legislation varies between states, and that may lead to differences in the outcomes of similar cases. In this case, Lori Drew was originally convicted of unauthorized access to computers, but this conviction was later thrown out. With this in mind, do you think there should be federal legislation that addresses cyberbullying to ensure that justice is served, regardless of state laws? As a content writer, I suggest we need more safety measures to ensure that cyberbullying does not go unpunished, regardless of the state laws. For instance, enacting a federal cyberbullying law that addresses the many aspects related to cyberbullying would go a long way in ensuring justice is served. Studies have shown that there are long-term effects of cyberbullying on the affected individuals, and it is, thus, crucial to have proper safety measures in place (Belsey, 2019).

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Belsey, B. (2019). Cyberbullying. In G. R. Walz (Ed.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Online Education (2nd ed.). SAGE Publications, Inc. DOI: 10.4135/9781483318332.n94

The legislation surrounding cyberbullying varies greatly between states, with New York State taking a proactive stance by enacting the Dignity for All Students Act. However, there are still no federal cyberbullying laws currently in place. With the prevalence of cyberbullying in today’s society, should there be federal legislation to protect individuals from online harassment and discrimination? How might federal laws around cyberbullying differ from state laws?

Reference: Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J.W. (2018). Cyberbullying laws and policies across the United States. Cyberbullying Research Institute. Retrieved from https://cyberbullying.org/cyberbullying-laws-in-the-united-states

Solution 1:

Given the prevalence of cyberbullying and the negative effects it can have on students, it is important to consider additional measures that can be taken beyond legislation to create a safer online environment for young people. One potential solution is to prioritize education and awareness efforts targeted at both students and parents. By providing information about the risks and impacts of cyberbullying, schools and online platforms can empower individuals to better understand how to protect themselves and others. School counselors could also be trained to help students deal with the emotional aftermath of cyberbullying incidents, and schools could partner with mental health professionals to offer additional resources for those who need them. With increased knowledge and resources, individuals may be more likely to report cyberbullying, stand up for victims, and make more informed decisions about their own online behavior.

Reference: Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2018). Cyberbullying fact sheet: Common chat room and texting abbreviations. Cyberbullying Research Center.

Solution 2:

While laws and policies are important tools for addressing cyberbullying, it is clear that they have limitations in terms of their ability to prevent all forms of harm. In light of this, another possible solution is to focus on preventative measures that can mitigate the likelihood of cyberbullying occurring in the first place. For example, online platforms could implement more advanced moderation measures, such as machine-learning algorithms that can detect and filter out harmful content in real-time. Schools could also work to create a more positive school climate overall, where students are encouraged to be kind to one another and are held accountable for their online behavior. By taking a more proactive approach to cyberbullying and focusing on prevention rather than just punishment, we may be able to create a more positive and safe online environment for all young people.

Reference: Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2021). Preventing cyberbullying: A guide for parents, educators, and teens. Routledge.

The legislation for cyberbullying in the USA varies between states as highlighted in the text. Do you think it would be beneficial or necessary to have federal-level cyberbullying laws to ensure consistency across the country?

Additionally, in terms of the impact legislation has on reducing cyberbullying, it has been suggested that laws alone may not be enough to change behavior and prevent cyberbullying. Rather, there is a need for comprehensive policies including education, training for teachers and parents, and support for students experiencing cyberbullying. This is supported by research studies (e.g. Hinduja & Patchin, 2018). What are your thoughts on this?


Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2018). Cyberbullying laws in the United States: Where do they stand? Cyberbullying Research Center. Retrieved from https://cyberbullying.org/cyberbullying-laws.pdf

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