Do We Need Cyberbullying Legislation?
Debate Rounds (3)
Cyber bullying - involves the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others (President of Bullying.org, and founder of American Institute on Bullying)
Criminal Offense - an act punishable by law (Merriam-Webster)
Cyber bullying is widely considered, and for the purpose of this debate, is considered the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others. Criminal offence is defined as an act punishable by law.
The rates of teen suicide correlating to cyber bullying have increased exponentially over the past ten years. From 850 people per year in 2001, to over 2,000 young people now, the National Institute of Mental Health reports that the second leading cause of teen suicide is from cyber bullying.
Currently, 41 states and the District of Columbia have anti-bullying measures and 23 have statutes against cyber bullying. This empirically shows that cyber bullying hurts all of those coming into contact with it, and also that repercussion needs to be felt
Cyber bullying, as you define it, should not be a criminal offense.
First, verbal abuse alone is not an illegal act, and it can only be considered in the jurisdiction of the civil justice system when it involves a very specific set of relationships and propositions, like a boss making inappropriate remarks to an employee. Affirming the resolution would not only be hypocritical but contradictory given our current set of laws - repeated, hostile acts of verbal aggression in context of place like a schoolyard are not illegal. Current bullying laws mostly reinforce existing assault laws. Though cyber bullying is reprehensible, these acts should not be illegal in cyberspace either.
Second, legislation that Pro supports enters dangerous 1st Amendment territory. While freedoms under the 1st Amendment are not absolute, typically, these exceptions involve situations when false statements incite third parties to violence against certain person(s). This case does apply to Pro"s legislation. Pro"s legislation is totalizing and involves an unprecedented rollback in permitted speech. Though doubtlessly suicide rates from cyber bulling calls for outrage, the 1st Amendment was intended to protect even some harmful speech, especially in context of political organizations. I would be even more conscientious of 1st Amendment violations from cyber bullying legislation given Pro"s current definition. For example, Pro"s definition of cyber bullying specifically contains the phrase "harm others" as opposed to "individuals," which means this legislation could be used protect a number of groups, affiliations, or organizations from criticism or attack. Furthermore, ostensibly, the ambiguity of "intended to harm" shows again why legislation of this kind would be dangerous; there is no definitional line dictating what constitutes harm and "intent" is always difficult to prove in a courtroom.
Third, there are many protections that cyber bullying victims can access - blocking emails, de-friending Facebook friends, blocking numbers, reporting inappropriate behavior to the school or parents for disciplinary action. I would even go as far as to suggest a counter-plan that schools should step up disciplinary action against cyber bullies.While protections are probably imperfect, I think legislation overreaches.
Fourth, bullying cannot be stopped. Later in life, aggression becomes far more subtle and dangerous when it involves competition for mates or promotions. Teenagers, just like adults, bully one another for power and resources, and being able to withstand criticism, even the heinous kind, is key to building a strong character and constitution. Everyone needs to learn how to survive and thrive in the natural order without a protector constantly having your back.
As I said previously, cyber bullying is reprehensible, but it should not be illegal. I reserve to right to create new arguments in the next round since I did not have time to research current bullying and cyber bullying statutes. Pro only gave one hour to post my argument. I yield back to Pro.
KingRa forfeited this round.
KingRa forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Zaradi 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: That's a shame.
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