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630-472-9700Available 24/7

Prosecution for Cyberbullying Comes to Illinois in 2015

Posted on in Cybercrime

cyberbullying in Illinois, DuPage criminal defense lawyerTraditional bullying seems to have taken on a new meaning in the digital age. What used to consist of hitting, punching, teasing, or taunting, has in recent years led to digital abuse over online platforms that has led to the suicides of many troubled adolescents. The federal government has had significant difficulty in prosecuting and investigating claims of cyberbullying, that is, to harass, stalk, embarrass, manipulate, or taunt others via electronic means such as through computers, cellphones, or other devices. Such communication may be sexual in nature, may involve explicit photographs, or may eventually lead to blackmail.

This difficulty in prosecuting cyberbullying cases is due to a variety of factors. It can be difficult to determine a single cause that led to a suicide. With third-party parents, other youth, and online predators playing a role, it can be very difficult to pinpoint who is using a specific computer at a specific time, especially if multiple members of a household share a computer. Some think children are being too sensitive; others blame the parents for failing to supervise their children’s online activity. Regardless of where we wish to place the blame, everyone seems to agree that someone should be responsible when a child’s life ends after being endlessly harassed.

Illinois Makes an Effort to Combat Cyberbullying Regardless of the difficulty of enforcing such laws at the federal level, many states have taken on measures to prevent, what many consider, to be a cyberbullying epidemic. Illinois has now joined the ranks of the vast majority of states implementing anti-cyberbullying laws, though as many states, this law will only target one area of cyberbullying. Revenge Porn One particularly vicious form of cyberbullying involves disseminating personal or sexual photographs to unapproved third parties. This is an all-too-common occurrence among youth, and such proliferation of private images has been attributed to several adolescent suicides. Recipients of personal photographs may blackmail or threaten victims to give additional, more revealing pictures. The psychological pressures an adolescent may face with the fear of photo distribution can lead to tragic consequences. The New Laws The new Illinois law specifically targets this type of “revenge porn,” making distribution of sexual images without the photographed individual’s consent a Class 4 felony. Other related measures include allowing educators more freedoms in punishing children caught cyberbullying at school, whether on their personal or school-owned electronic devices. Many cyberbullying cases are simply charged as basic harassment claims, which are pre-existing laws at both the federal and state level. Illinois Cybercrime Criminal Defense Attorneys Cybercrimes of any nature are particularly serious, given that they are often charged federally. Even at the state level, a cybercrime of a sexual nature may lead to permanent consequences that may affect your ability your family, your work, your finances, and your social status. Prosecutors throughout the country have been creative with finding ways to punish cyberbullies; hiring an experienced DuPage County Internet sex crime lawyer is the best way to combat these tactics. At Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C., we understand the sensitive nature of these cases and what is on the line for your future. If you have stepped over boundaries on the Internet, you may be in trouble. Contact our DuPage, Cook, Kane, or Will County criminal defense law offices at 630-472-9700 to learn more about your legal rights today.

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