Prior to leaving the office in December 2018, former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder passed into law a new measure, known as House Bill 5017, that will make cyberbullying illegal starting in March of this year.
According to Public Act 457, cyberbullying includes “posting a message or statement in a public media forum about any other person if…the message or statement is intended to place a person in fear of bodily harm or death and expresses an intent to commit violence against the person…The message or statement is posted with the intent to communicate a threat or with knowledge that it will be viewed as a threat.”
Those who violate this law can experience fines up to $10,000 and jail time of up to 10 years depending on the severity of the bullying.
According to Bullying Statistics:
- Over half of teens have been bullied online and about the same number have engaged in cyberbullying.
- Girls are more likely to be cyberbullied than boys.
- Victims of cyberbullying are more likely to experience low self-esteem and commit suicide.
- Over half of teens don’t tell their parents about cyberbullying.
As parents (and good friends), there are ways that we can prevent our children (and ourselves) from becoming victims of cyberbullying. How? By following some of these guidelines like:
- Make sure that you talk to your children about cyberbullying and explain to them the impact it can have on others and the consequences of engaging in cyberbullying. Tell them what behavior is and isn’t allowed and expectations that you have.
- Encourage them to open up if they have been victimized by a cyberbully and that they will not be punished and that it is not ok.
- Teach them not to share information, messages, pictures, or videos on social media, to friends, strangers, etc. that they would otherwise not want to have go public and not to trust anyone other than their parents with sensitive information like passwords, phone numbers, or email addresses.
What To Do If You Are A Victim of Cyberbullying
Not all crime victims experience physical trauma. Some, like in personal injury cases (i.e., cyberbullying), victims can experience psychological trauma as well. Aside from contacting a lawyer, here is what you should do if you or your loved one is a victim of a cyberbully.
You should keep any and all messages that were exchanged between you and the cyberbully(s) to use as proof that the cyberbullying occurred. This can usually be done via screenshots from your phone or computer. These can be given to police and to your lawyer to help with your case especially if they are violent or sexual in nature.
If you or a loved one are a victim of cyberbullying, you need to wait no longer and contact a personal injury attorney who has experience with these kinds of cases. You need a lawyer who will fight for your rights and who will not be intimidated by your harassers or the Michigan court system. At Marko Law, we understand our clients and do our best to achieve the best possible results for our clients’ cases. Give us a call today and schedule your free consultation.