The Instigator
Crude
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
sherlockmethod
Con (against)
Winning
14 Points

Resolved: Cyberbullying should be a criminal offence.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/1/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 6,278 times Debate No: 13854
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (11)
Votes (2)

 

Crude

Pro

I thank anyone who joins this debate, and I will let my opponent go first...
sherlockmethod

Con

I welcome my opponent to his second DDO debate and look forward to a solid exchange. I understand that this debate is part of a national high school debate type thingy, which we did not have at my high school, sadly. I don't care about that issue too much, but I do ask that my opponent try to finish the debate and I make clear now that I have no intention of following any type of format as I don't understand all the rules.

Definitions:
My opponent allowed me to go first but I really don't want a definition debate so I will offer two definitions for cyberbullying and my opponent can choose which one he prefers so we can continue this debate. Since my opponent allowed me to go first I think my actions fall well within normal DDO standards (we have 4 rounds more!). My opponent had the opportunity to define his terms but chose not to do so. In fairness, I will offer him two definitions and allow him to present his Pro arguments for whichever one he chooses.

Definition ONE:

"Cyberbullying" is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. It has to have a minor on both sides, or at least have been instigated by a minor against another minor. Once adults become involved, it is plain and simple cyber-harassment or cyberstalking. Adult cyber-harassment or cyberstalking is NEVER called cyberbullying.
http://www.stopcyberbullying.org...

Definition TWO:

"[W]illful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices."

"[R]epeatedly makes fun of another person online or repeatedly picks on another person through email or text message or when someone posts something online about another person that they don't like."
http://www.cyberbullying.us...

I do not believe definition TWO requires a child, preteen (what is that anyway?), or a teen.

Choose Pro. You can present your case or send it back to me with only a choice of ONE or TWO. My Con position will change depending on which you take. Good luck to you here and in the high school debate competitions. I hope I can be helpful.

Very Truly Yours,
Sherlockmethod
Debate Round No. 1
Crude

Pro

Pro Argument

I will be debating for the pro side of the resolution "Resolved: Cyber bullying should be considered a criminal offense."

In 2007, suicide was the third leading cause of death in young people from ages 15 to 24. Many of these suicides are committed because of the results of constant bullying. As a result of this, many states have issued laws against bullying. The question that I am debating today is whether cyber bullying should be considered a criminal offense. The answer to that is definitely yes. While the new laws are a step closer to closing down on bullying, nothing will be achieved if cyber bullying isn't a criminal offense as well. My partner and I feel that, with good reason, this is a necessity

The definitions that I will provide are as follows (provided by the National Crime Prevention Council)

Cyber bullying: "[W]illful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices digitally..

Contention One-
Cyber bullying is just another form of bullying, so it should be included in the state laws against bullying.

Subpoint A
Cyber bullying is no different from normal bullying other than using a different medium.

The definition of bullying is a form of abuse that can have long-term effects on youthful victims. Cyber bullying does the same thing. The use of an electronic is simply a medium and doesn't lessen the damage done. If bullying is a criminal offense, bullying using a specific medium should be a criminal offense as well.

Contention Two-
By making cyber bullying a criminal offense, we can reduce the amount of cyber bullying occurring.

Subpoint A
By making cyber bullying a criminal offense, we can cut down on cyber bullying and achieve a safer environment for the previous victims

We can all agree that cyber bullying is bad. It deteriorates the victim's self-esteem and may even lead to depression. We can all agree that the world would be a better place without cyber bullying. By making cyber bullying a criminal offense, we can greatly reduce the amount of cyber bullying occurring. A few months ago in Philadelphia, a man named Scott Arnold saw what anti-bullying laws could do. His daughter, who was a victim of a bully, had four children apologize to her for not helping sooner. The bullying had stopped. The same will happen for cyber bullying if cyber bullying is made a criminal offense. Fewer people would be tempted to bully online if it was against the law.

Contention Three
Cyber bullying is often worse than normal bullying on many counts.

Subpoint A
Cyber bullying causes more damage than normal bullying.

Cyber bullying can cause even more damage than normal bullying. When cyber bullying is involved, there are no telltale signs of a cut on the cheek or a black eye. Many parents have even no idea that their child is being bullied. In addition to the lack of evidence, insults through the Internet can move faster and to more places than normal bullying. Something posted on Facebook can be read by all 500 of the victim's friends. Also, in some cases a victim cannot delete something posted online so the insult lasts longer than a verbal insult.

Conclusion
The current condition of the cyber bullying laws is unacceptable. Cyber bullying should have the same, if not more weight as normal bullying and definitely should be made a criminal offense. The results of cyber bullying are worse than normal bullying. Many cyber bullies and potential victims are unaware of the consequences of cyber bullying. We must make cyber bullying a criminal offense. This will cut down on the amount of cyber bullying occurring. The benefit that this could bring, I'm sure we all agree on. As I conclude, I leave you with this thought: would the parents of a cyber bullying victim be consoled if they new that the bully wasn't punished simply because the bullying was online? I think not.

These are my sites and references:

http://www.suite101.com...

http://www.cyberbullyalert.com...

http://www.pottsmerc.com...

http://www.puresight.com...

http://cyberbullying.us...
sherlockmethod

Con

I thank Pro for this debate. Pro listed his points and gave sources but did not specifically site the sources in his argument. I cannot find which source pertains to which fact. The sources themselves are fine, but please list them next to the facts they cover or list numbers so I can see which is which. I have spent a considerable amount of time trying to find the specific claims.

FULL CON POSITION: Bullying needs to be addressed by legislation, cyber or otherwise, but not with criminal sanctions. I submit the model law given by the Anti Defamation League as a good law dealing with K-12 students and submit that current laws dealing with assault, harassment, libel, and slander already address the matter concerning adults without risking invalidation by possibly prohibiting free speech; therefore, no new laws are needed.
http://www.adl.org...
(Model law on actual p. 11. PDF p. 13)

Support:
I agree with Pro that cyberbullying is bullying, plain and simple. A bully should not find safety from punishment because a statement was made via texting instead of shouting it outside. Such a distinction would be silly and I can't make it with a straight face. My position is that neither action be criminally punished if it is not already encompassed by existing laws. I agree with contention one for the most part. Contention two on the other hand is not supported by the evidence offered. I have found no meaningful studies showing that criminal sanctions have curbed bullying. Tennessee (my state) has a cyberbullying law with criminal sanctions
http://www.commercialappeal.com...
http://techliberation.com...
The law was given a good grade from this watchdog group.
http://www.bullypolice.org...
I have not found one prosecution. Not one.

So, in Tennessee we have this high rated law with no one in jail or fined (at least I can't find one). What good is it? The law is probably unconstitutional and for this reason prosecutors are not using it and are, instead, using other existing laws concerning libel, harassment, slander, etc that have passed constitutional tests (concerning adults) and are allowing for the schools to deal with bullying with children. The criminal sanctions do not appear to have done anything other than discourage prosecutors from using the law. This result is not desirable if curbing bullying is the goal.

As support for his contention, Pro linked a story concerning a program in Philadelphia. The program uses the local community and education to help prevent bullying. Where are the criminal sanctions? This program uses better recourses (schools, students, teachers, parents) than say hand cuffs, police, and prisons. As the Con position, I support these programs that allow for measures to be taken outside the criminal law as they appear more effective. I see nothing in this article suggesting the bullying stopped because of criminality. As a matter of fact, PA does not have a criminal sanction in its cyber bullying law. http://www.cyberbullying.us...
And the law appears to be effective. http://www.pottsmerc.com...
Pro's source serves as an example of good legislation that does not include criminal sanctions. It does nothing to support his contention that criminality is needed, or even desired.

Many of the criminal cyberbullying laws are redundant and overly broad.
http://www.theatlantic.com...
And provide reactionary, rather than proactive, solutions.
http://news.discovery.com...

In his third contention Pro wishes to separate cyber bullying from bullying because the effects are more permanent, sometimes. The fact that cyber bullying leaves no physical marks like a punch or a kick does not distinguish it from any emotional bullying done without electronic devices. The latter can be harder to see but we are not attempting to distinguish mental and emotional bullying from physical bullying, at least, not in this debate. Not all cyber bullying is permanent per se; in some cases, it is easier to deal with. I can't keep Joe Blow from telling me that I am a horrible person, but I can delete his text message. I believe Pro is referring to items like blogs, facebook and videos. The latter areas are already covered by a variety of laws more severe than any cyber bullying laws I have read. To continue with Tennessee, we don't need a cyber bullying law because we have a more stringent law in harassment and stalking.
http://www.mytennesseedefenselawyer.com...
http://www.haltabuse.org...

Any activity that rises to this level need not be defined as cyber bullying or even bullying for that matter and a new law made. We have several laws with more severe punishments already and they are simply harassment, stalking, libel, slander, etc.

The risk of bringing lower levels of activity into the realm of the criminal law is that the people best able to handle it are removed from the equation and we over burden the courts with silliness. I am offering a better solution than criminality:

Education for school age children, parents and school officials: Bust the myth that activities conducted off school grounds cannot bring sanctions from the school. Schools have a long reach and many of the current laws on bullying extend this reach to allow administrators to protect students off campus, without criminal sanctions. Parents and students may not be aware of these rules so the school is not contacted.
http://fourriverscharter.org...
See 2.C.i.

Education for law enforcement: The police need to take this stuff seriously. As soon as harassment, online or otherwise, fits criminal activity, go after them. If the activity does not, contact the schools in the case of minors. For adults, show them the proper means of getting a restraining order. Yes, facebook activity can violate a restraining order.
http://mashable.com...
http://abcnews.go.com...
(No need to use the cyber bully statute since we already had a good law barring this behavior)
Education and awareness are the big ones here. Adding a law with criminal sanctions that is rarely used is a nominal effort at best. Tennessee, as well as other states, presented a knee jerk law that will probably fail the first time it is used. Pro said that "nothing will be achieved if cyber bullying isn't a criminal offense". I disagree. Making a nominal criminal law to respond to already illegal activities while risking Constitutional stonewalls is achieving nothing.

"In light of these concerns, perhaps legislators should abandon the knee-jerk criminal legislation in favor of a more creative approach to cyberbullying. One such method would focus on prevention."
http://blogs.vanderbilt.edu...

I agree. Prevention and education, as presented by the ADL, is a much better solution than criminal sanctions.
Debate Round No. 2
Crude

Pro

Crude forfeited this round.
sherlockmethod

Con

I have addressed all of Pro's contentions. At this point, the resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 3
Crude

Pro

Crude forfeited this round.
sherlockmethod

Con

Same as above.
Debate Round No. 4
Crude

Pro

Crude forfeited this round.
sherlockmethod

Con

All pts Con.
Debate Round No. 5
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by sherlockmethod 6 years ago
sherlockmethod
Take all the time you need, Sir.
Posted by Crude 6 years ago
Crude
I am going to post my case, but I will have to change up a few things. Ultimately I will post it up within 24 hours--It is 9:40 pm here and I still need to finish up some work.
Posted by sherlockmethod 6 years ago
sherlockmethod
I won't use the semantic nonsense of hitting someone with a computer or cell phone, I promise. That is funny though.
Posted by sherlockmethod 6 years ago
sherlockmethod
OK,
Post that so I can offer my position. Then we can start with me presenting the first argument as you intended.
Posted by Crude 6 years ago
Crude
I will choose Definition 2:
"[W]illful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices."
with one exception-
"[W]illful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices digitally."
Your definition, in some causes, could be used as in assault with a computer, cell phone, toaster, etc.
It was somewhat vague.
Posted by Crude 6 years ago
Crude
Sorry, Cyberbullying is defined as "The electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person often done anonymously" as stated by Merriman-Webster.
Posted by sherlockmethod 6 years ago
sherlockmethod
Actually, I have some ideas on this one. No format was presented so I need not stand by one. I will accept.
Posted by sherlockmethod 6 years ago
sherlockmethod
Will you define Cyperbullying before I accept; otherwise, I will define it outside of other laws that already exist concerning stalking and harrassment. Define it with a source and I will take Con, but I do not gather all the rules of format debates (LD, Policy, or whatnot). I am not interested in the formats but I would like to be Con if I can see how you define it.
Posted by Crude 6 years ago
Crude
J. Kenyon, I will post by debate, but I do know people who steal other peoples debates...
Posted by blackhawk1331 6 years ago
blackhawk1331
I'm currently in a debate with the same exact title, but I'm pro.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Awed 6 years ago
Awed
CrudesherlockmethodTied
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Vote Placed by sherlockmethod 6 years ago
sherlockmethod
CrudesherlockmethodTied
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Total points awarded:07