Leonardo Angiulo: Can A Minor Be Arrested For Cyberbullying?
Monday, August 26, 2013
And then there was the internet. Where everything lasts forever.
I think there are more than enough warnings about Facebook. It's pretty obvious that when you post on someone's wall, everyone knows it's you. So that really mean thing will be really easy to print out and bring in to the principal. But wait, if I said it when I was at home why does the school administration have anything to do with it? The answer is: because people who feel bullied when they're at home will still feel that way at school. And no matter where your behavior takes place, if it disrupts the school day you could be the subject of a disciplinary action.
So there may be some really tech savvy kids out there that may bring up Ask.fm and say, “hey man, the stuff I post there is anonymous.” So, in response, I would say have you heard about “big data?” Nothing is really anonymous anymore. In order to post in anonymous mode on Ask.fm my understanding is that you first have to log in to your account. So, that really awful thing you said about that girl and you thought it was anonymous? Yeah. All the police need is a subpoena signed by the local prosecutor and your entire posting history is up for display.
But what about snapchat, you say, they don't keep records. And, sure, that could be true. But what about when someone takes a screen shot of you? All that talk about “temporary this” and “no record that” goes right out the window.
This leaves us with the question of why should you care? It is unfortunately true that High School really sets the stage for the rest of your life. You should try and make the most of it. As if that wasn't enough of a reason, keep in mind that children between the ages of 6 and 18 can be subjected to the authority of the Massachusetts Juvenile Court as a “Child Requiring Assistance” when they repeatedly fail to obey the school rules. If a child's behavior meets this definition, the school administration may file a complaint with the Juvenile Court Clerk that may lead to court hearings in an attempt to correct behavior and even the arrest of the juvenile in certain circumstances.
As if high school weren't difficult enough, there are some people who really go out of their way to make it harder. When the new school year starts just remember that if you wouldn't say it to someone's face, you really shouldn't say it on the internet where it becomes permanently recorded. And if being a decent human being isn't enough of a reason for you, remember that getting caught is almost inevitable.
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