'Kiddie Crime?' The Utility of Criminal Law in Controlling Cyberbullying
University of Dayton
Susan W. Brenner
University of Dayton - School of Law
January 17, 2010
First Amendment Law Review, Forthcoming
Cyberbullying – the use of email, websites, Instant Messages, Twitter, Facebook and other online resources to torment, harass and/or embarrass other children – has become an increasingly common phenomenon in American schools. The emotional injuries – and the occasional suicides – attributed to cyberbullying have led some to call for making cyberbullying a crime in and of itself.
This article analyzes the arguments for and against creating a new, “cyberbullying” offense. It argues that existing criminal law can adequately address cyberbullying when the “harm” it inflicts rises to the level that warrants the use of criminal sanctions; it also argues that the residual instances of cyberbullying which do not qualify for the use of criminal liability are better addressed by other, non-criminal means.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 56
Keywords: criminal law, bullying, cyberbullying, stalking, harassment, emotional distress
JEL Classification: K14, K42
Date posted: January 18, 2010