For young people in the 21st century, growing up under the influence of the internet and social media has resulted in different forms of bullying than in the past. Though cyberbullying is not new, it has continued to evolve as social media formats change. Internet usage among young adults has changed from IMing to DMing, from texting to tweeting, and from posting on Tumblr to selecting the best filter for an Instagram photo. Because the social media realm is ever-changing, new bullying tactics emerge as online trends change.
Cyberbullying can occur through messaging, social media sites, and gaming programs. The United States at large has recognized the problem of cyberbullying; however, laws and regulations change state-by-state. Illinois has taken actions to reduce cyberbullying and improve youths’ experiences in junior high and high school, and those accused of cyberbullying should work with a criminal defense attorney to understand their rights and legal options.
Illinois Law: On Paper and In Practice
Illinois has laws and policies against cyberbullying, in keeping with the majority of the country. Illinois has passed legislation highlighting the terms bullying, harassment, and intimidation when discussing cyberbullying. Anti-bullying laws are meant to protect individuals from harassment due to their race, religion, sex, age, marital status, etc. Using digital means to attack any person based on these distinguishing characteristics is considered cyberbullying, and it can result in criminal charges, as well as consequences for students such as suspension or expulsion from school.
Recently, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed a bill requiring school resource officers to undergo training to better protect students. School resource officers are police officers assigned to protect children by patrolling the halls of public schools. The new training they will undergo puts education regarding cyberbullying at its forefront. This training was not previously necessary for these officers.
The cyberbullying education does not stop with officials. Illinois law states that any school receiving federal funding must address discrimination based on a number of different personal characteristics. This includes educating students and teachers as well. Students are encouraged to report any actions that may be considered cyberbullying, whether it happened to them personally or they have seen it happen to others. Being involved in cyberbullying is not taken lightly in Illinois schools, and it often leads to the expulsion of those guilty of the crime.
Contact an Experienced DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyer
If your child has been involved in a cyberbullying incident, it is important to seek out legal help. Many youths do not understand the severity of cyberbullying until they have been a victim of such actions. Our Oak Brook criminal defense attorneys have experience defending those who are facing criminal charges, and we can help you understand your rights and your options for defense. Contact our office at 630-472-9700 to schedule a free consultation.