The Instigator
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The Contender
Con (against)
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Should cyber bullying be a crime?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/1/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 10,589 times Debate No: 15037
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (11)
Votes (1)




The result of cyber bullying can be as harmful as physical bullying, and in some cases can result in even more harmful circumstances. I believe cyber bullying should have criminal sanction, just as assault does. In today's society the Internet and cell phone have become the top ways in which we communicate. It allows more freedom for bullying knowing there is no ramification for their actions. However, the consequences are great on the victim's life. In many cases cyber bullying has led to depression, anxiety, and in some cases, death. Cyber bullying should have criminal sanction, by having such serious repercussions cyber bullying would come to an end.


Though the idea sounds great, it would be impossible to carry out in any shape or form.

It ties up the court system and costs too much money.
According to CBS news, more than 40% of teens have been cyber bullied. As my opponents has not given any specifics on what designates something as cyber bullying, we must assume that every case would lead to a hunt of the said cyber bully followed by a criminal case. We also have to assume that not all students admit to being cyber bullied. According to a census in 1999, there were 49 million elementary to high school students. With the population being higher, we can assume that there are more students now.

Here is some quick math:
49 million x .40=19,600,000

Even if a certain cyber bully takes on 10 students, we still have an extremely large number of people that would take money to track, and money to put on trial.

Though cyber bullying is in fact something that we have to worry about in this day and age, any legislation is impossible.
Debate Round No. 1


Students have been educated on the effects of cyber bullying for many years, yet nothing has lessened the number of cyber bullies. The extent of the charge would be determined based upon the severity of the cyber bullying case. Going back to assault charges, a slap would not be carried out in court, however, punches in the face may be. Cyber bullying cases, which involved name-calling, but did not constitute for slander may not follow out in courts, but threats to physical harm most definitely should be. Fewer then 1 in 5 cyber bullying incidents are reported to law enforcements according to, reason being, nothing is ever done. If there is no penalty for harmful actions, chaos arises. Therefore, by seeing a student being taken away in handcuffs and off to jail for a cyber bullying case, we would have a greater chance to decreasing that 40% then any other option. Cyber bullying cases would be the easiest to carry out, especially in a place of law due to evidence.


You say this like putting a legislation in place would act as a deterrent, but can you provide any proof?
In order to elaborate on this, I will ask a question.
Has the drinking age and law acted as a deterrent on many teens?

You also go on to say that the cases would be the easiest to carry out especially in a place of law due to evidence, however, this obviously does not take into account the complexity of a computer. How would we be able to prove that it is a certain person doing the cyber bullying? There are a few reasons that would make it extremely hard, those being:

1. Proxy Servers. People could easily mask their IP address when cyber bullying, thus eliminating their location if doing it over forums.
2. Even if done over social networking, where names exist, and IP addresses are given, someone may have left their screen open at their house, and someone else got on. You could also get an enemy of yours convicted by hacking their account.

With the limit set, I can not show more
Debate Round No. 2


According to your numbers more then 3,920,000 teens have thought about suicide from a cyber bully attack, that is 20 percent of all victims. According to a recent study conducted by Cyberbullying Research Center the victims of cyber bully attacks are twice as likely to attempt suicide then bullying victims.

Police can easily track chats, IM's, text messages and blog posts using the IP address and question the person who regularly uses that computer or cell phone like they do in all investigations. We have the technology to even track those who mask their IP addresses.

The suicide rates have increased for ages 10 to19 and cyber bullying is a big part of the problem. It is an issue we need to confront and get a firm grip of before it is too late.


1000 character limit makes the final thoughts brief.
The con uses The Cyber Bullying Research Center as a source, however this "research center" is composed of two college graduates and a small control group. The Pro never gave the original percentile of the suicide rate among those who are bullied so the percentile is left unanswered and irrelevant. It could be .001 percent to .002 percent.

Police would need search warrants to check these computers which would also tie up the police, and Pro never gave a source that we have the technology to find these masked IPs and even if we do, to hire the professionals, it would cost more money.

Pro never showed a source that the suicide rates are mainly attributed to Cyber Bullying.
Pro never proved that a law would be a deterrent. Pro never contested what would happen when someone was hacked or when multiple people in a household used the same computer.Pro never contested that it would cost so much to try so many in court.
Thank you, vote con
Debate Round No. 3
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by aimtosky56 7 years ago
So you are saying that degradation and a childhood full of verbal harassment is acceptable because the target is smarter or eventually grows up and becomes sensitive as a result? There is a fine line between sensitivity and loss of self-worth or a voice.Psychologists believe that a person's childhood should be mostly filled with positive experiences A majority of healthy positive experiences creates a healthy happy functioning adult ON THE OTHER HAND negative experiences on an everyday basis makes for an unhealthy adult incapable of basic relationship builders such as trust. Eric Erikson look him up. Taunted children have lowered self esteem not a raise in their "wittiness level"In fact based on Erikon's research we now know that a child who suffers constant taunting may suffer permanent self esteem damage. A basic attribute for succeeding as a human being is self esteem. Without self esteem there are no relationships to be made or jobs to feel confident in. Non physical bullying in adolescence is capable of RUINING adult lives.
Posted by aimtosky56 7 years ago
Incessant taunting builds up tolerance in adolescents, children and adults and teaches them to handle certain predicaments in their life. We as human species have to overcome obstacles in our lives, and bullying is one of them, people who are targeted by bullying usually grow up to be sensitive caring people, I believe Bullying builds character in an individual, it is also a right of passage that every adolescent has to deal with, but dealing with these situations, allows people to grow as individuals and actually allows targets to become wittier in nature. Most targets are independent in nature, and are usually smarter than there attacker, as well as more ethical and honest. These people due to bullying are more able to deal with stressful situations in their adult age.
Posted by ldbug47 7 years ago
Cyber bullying should be considered a crime. Not only cyber bullying but all forms of non physical abuse. Just because a child does not have physical evidence of hurt on them does not mean that they are not in pain.I don't think it is right that some adolescents are driven to suicide because of incessant taunting. The masses have failed to identify the fine line between harmless teasing and degradation. The young victims affected view the harassment toward them as a, "Social mirror in which to see ones self." If a single adolescent is rejected or disliked by the group he or she will form a torturous self critical attitude. Rejected by the majority the individual will reject him or her self. It causes extreme hurt and life changing degradation therefore should be considered a crime.
Victims,MERE CHILDREN, of such cruelty suffer from low grades. Children hurting cannot focus on schoolwork because they are wondering why they were targeted, if they will be attacked again or if they will once more be alone in the cafeteria. Persistent ridicule by peers can even keep a child from attending school. Deterioration of self esteem is common among victims and depression may develop. Also, the effects of verbal bullying can last into adulthood having an impact on a person's personal and professional adult life. Moreover, the point I am trying to make is that adolescence is a precious life experience that can deeply affect a child's future. Bullies steal this experience from their victims and therefore should be considered a crime.
Posted by kboudreau 7 years ago
thanks :) vote for me! i need an A
Posted by Rinexe 7 years ago
I believe the time for debate is over. The time for debate was in the 1000 character rounds. I will admit, those would have worked for you in the actual debate.
Posted by kboudreau 7 years ago
Phoebe Prince, a recent Irish immigrant, hanged herself Jan. 14 after nearly three months of routine torment by students at South Hadley High School, via text message, and through the social networking site, Facebook.

Prince, a freshman, was reportedly harassed by older girls who resented her dating an older football player. Her death shook the town of South Hadley and prompted the Massachusetts legislature to pass a law introducing an anti-bullying curriculum in the state's public schools.

Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel said Prince's bullying was the result of a romantic relationship she had with one of the male suspects that ended weeks prior to her suicide.

Scheibel called Prince's suicide "the culmination of a nearly three-month campaign of verbally assaultive behavior and threats of physical harm." In at least one instance she was attacked when a girl pelted her with a soft drink can.

"The investigation revealed relentless activity directed toward Phoebe, designed to humiliate her and to make it impossible for her to remain at school," Scheibel said. "The bullying, for her, became intolerable."

"Nevertheless, the actions — or inactions — of some adults at the school are troublesome," she said.

The district attorney said school administrators knew of the bullying but none would be charged.

Prince hanged herself in her home, days after accepting an invitation to a winter school dance and only months after emigrating to the small western Massachusetts town from Ireland. Her younger sister found Prince's body in the stairwell leading to the family's second-story apartment.

Six of the teens will be indicted on charges connected to Prince's suicide. Three of the indicted students are girls, charged with violating Prince's civil rights, criminal harassment and disturbing a school assembly.

Two of the indicted students, a 17-year-old male and an 18-year-old male, will also be charged with statutory rape. Criminal complain
Posted by kboudreau 7 years ago
Depression can be a result of Cyber Bullying. Unless it has happened to you then you would not quite understand the pressures that come along with the ease in which technology can so quickly turn to being very harmful.
Posted by Rinexe 7 years ago
The 1000 character limit made it nearly impossible for me to completely refute her arguments, and add onto mine. I will agree with Jallen that no reasonable debate can be argued in 1000 or less characters.
Posted by Jallen289 7 years ago
One more thing..."a slap would not be carried out in court"

This is not true. If charges were pressed than a slap would indeed be carried out in court. Assuming that pro was talking about a situation in which someone literally slapped someone else.
Posted by Jallen289 7 years ago
I hate 1000 character limits. No reasonable debate can be argued in 1000 or less characters. With that being said, I personally believe that criminal sanctions on cyber bullying would be a complete violation of our freedom of speech. There are laws against threats, and "slander" as it is and my personal opinion is that these laws are good enough.

I believe that there are no cases in which someone was killed, or committed suicide solely as a result of "cyber bullying".

There are cases of people committed suicide after being bullied online, or as a result of personal information being revealed in a insulting way, but you cannot argue that cyber bullying alone is the reason of the deaths occurring. There always are circumstances leading up to the event that contribute in a way that would cause much more impact that cyber bullying alone.

Any reasonable person would not commit suicide over what someone typed to them, unless they were depressed or suffering from anxiety and in those cases, the blame should be placed on the depression itself, not what someone said.

Moreover, there is medication for anxiety and depression and other mental disorders that could contribute to these situations and if the person is not on these medications or have not taken the time to go to the doctor or talk to someone about their problems, one cannot just simply blame cyber bullying.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by boredinclass 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro did not answer that preventing it is impossible.