Cyber bullies face very serious consequences. Many cases of cyber bullying include some form of hacking, password or identity theft, or stalking, all of which carry criminal charges. Law enforcement, including the FBI, might get involved. Here are potential consequences if found guilty:
• Federal charges. A federal law pending in Congress since 2009 is the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act. The person convicted would be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
• Prosecution under stalker laws. Many states have updated their stalking laws to include electronic/cyberspace harassment. They include Arizona, Alaska, Connecticut, Michigan, New York, Oklahoma and Wyoming and the list is growing.
• Criminal charges filed under U.S. state law are punishable by both fines and jail time. Of the 44 states with bullying laws, five have cyber bullying laws and another 30 states include electronic harassment, according to an Oct. 2010 State Cyberbullying Laws Fact Sheet compiled by the Cyberbullying Research Center.
• School suspensions. If it happens at school, disciplinary measures would be determined in accordance with the school’s code of conduct or policy prohibiting bullying, harassment and intimidation. Punishments established by the school board, district or school include suspension from sports teams and school suspensions. Repeated offenses result in the student having to change schools.
• Internet Service Provider (ISP) account closure and/or banishment.