Cyber bullying and cyber stalking is a disturbing trend, particularly among young people and is one that has caused everything from fear to financial ruin and even fatal consequences. Both activities involve using the Internet and other related technologies with the intent to harm people, in a hostile, deliberate and repeated way. Since these illegal activities have become more common, awareness and legislation campaigns have been created to help combat them.
Cyber bullying encompasses any communication that seeks to intimidate, manipulate, control, falsely accuse, humiliate or invalidate the victim. Actions are always deliberate and repeated in an effort to harm another person. As defined by The National Crime Prevention Council, cyber bullying includes using cell phones, the Internet and any other technological device to threaten, post or send texts or images that are intended to embarrass or hurt another person.
A cyber bully could be a known person or one who regularly targets strangers online. Many of these people find their prey through popular social media outlets. The perpetrator could be anonymous or could also solicit the involvement of others in an effort to create a hostile environment for their targets.
Cyber stalking is considered a form of cyber bullying. The term was coined to cover instances that include serious and false accusations, threats, monitoring, equipment or data damage, identity theft and gathering information to harass, as well as for solicitation of minors for sex.
Repeated patterns of these abuses and harassment against someone constitute cyber stalking by or for any age of victim. Often, the activity features similar patterns of both online and offline behaviors. There are legal consequences for both offline and online stalking. Cyber stalkers can also be sentenced to jail time, depending upon the severity of their activities and the damage that they cause.
Laws about cyber bullying and cyber stalking concern the online harassment of children and also focus upon child predators. There are also laws that are designed to protect cyber stalking victims of all ages. At present, there are an estimated 45 cyber stalking and related regulations in place across the nation under federal and state laws. Some states and countries, however, do not have their own laws in place to protect these victims. In those cases, a competent lawyer could argue that these activities would fall under the umbrella of existing tort laws.
Civil law does give a means of filing for compensation under a personal injury claim. Personal injury claims can include psychological and emotional distress which are commonplace where Internet stalking is concerned. If one of your children, you or someone you know has been the victim of cyber bullying or cyber stalking, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you discover how best to proceed.
It may be possible for parents and guardians to make a claim under the law and seek compensation. All consultations will be confidential, but you can often find out more information from an attorney’s websites which can help allay any concerns you may have before making any appointments.
Dealing with The Effects
There have been some high profile cases that have involved suicides and murder that are connected to cyber bullying and cyber stalking. Studies have shown that the psycho-social effects of these activities have begun to negatively impact the lives of people in many ways. Consequences of these actions are multifaceted and their influences can be very long term. Research concerning adolescents has indicated that changes in victim behavior can cause fear to the extent that any form of aggression cannot be tolerated. Thus, the victims become so maladjusted that they have difficulties dealing with people for very long periods of time.
The Journal of Psycho-social Research on Cyberspace has reported the more critical impacts of cyber stalking and cyber bullying to include lowered self esteem, disillusionment, detachment and a general distrust of people. More extreme impacts have included self harm. There is also evidence that children have committed suicide and even murdered each other after involvement in these incidents.
Whilst the Internet has revolutionized our lives in so many positive ways, it has also given rise to some of the most appalling acts of human behavior. Dealing with the effects, especially where children and teenagers are concerned, can be difficult and distressing. Whilst the criminal courts may bring the perpetrators to justice, the effects on their victims can last far longer than any jail term. Consultation with a personal injury lawyer can help ensure there is financial support available to provide treatment and help to your loved ones, enabling them to hopefully move on with their lives and bring some form of normality.
As a mother of three, author Georgina Clatworthy is only too aware of the issues and the potential dangers the Internet poses. Websites like www.maryland-injury-lawyer.com will help you understand the process and possible results of filing such a claim. As each case is different, only a confidential consultation with a lawyer will determine whether there are potential legal grounds to file on.