cyber bullying should be a criminal offense
Debate Rounds (3)
More than 13 million kids were victims of cyber bullying this last year. 1/3 of all teens have had mean, threatening or embarrassing things said about them online. 10 percent were threatened with physical harm. 16 percent of these teens told no one. 30 percent told their parents but there was nothing their parents could do. 8 percent committed suicide.
Resolved: Cyber bullying should be a criminal offense
According the cyber bullying research organization Cyber bullying: someone willfully and repeatedly harasses, mistreats, makes fun of, through the use of the computers, cell phones and other electronic devices.
Criminal offense: an act punishable by law, usually considered an evil act.
My partner and I are in firm affirmation of this resolution for 3 reasons: It can result in suicide, it should be considered a hate crime, is a form of harassment and personal privacy.
First, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death of teens in the US. Bullying is the number one cause of suicide in teens in the United States. Bullying is the same whether using harmful words online or spoken in person. Thousands of teenagers commit suicide each year. Phoebe Prince was cyber bullied by nine teens that constantly harassed her by writing derogatory remarks and posting degrading photos of her on the internet. It escalated to the point where the teens confronted Phoebe in person and physically abused her and raped her. Phoebe's parents knew that this harassment on line was happening and they tried to help by talking to the school, yet the teens did not stop harassing Phoebe. On January 14th, 2010, Phoebe hung herself in her room. If there was a law against harassment like "Cyber Bulling", then those in authority could act before the harassment escalates to physical abuse and rape. Phoebe's life could have been saved if this had been stopped at cyber bullying. Let's save lives.
Second, cyber bullying should be considered a hate crime. Hate crime, as described by the US Legal Department web site, is "one that involves threats, harassment, or physical harm, and is motivated by prejudice against someone's race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sex, or physical or mental disability". When someone cyber bullies they don't target any random person for no reason, they bully someone because of hate or have prejudice towards them. Harassment, as described by US Legal Department, is the act of systematic and/or continued unwanted and annoying actions of one party or a group, including threats and demands. They can just hate the person, their race, their religion, whatever! Females are more likely to be cyber bullied then males are, according to the research done by the "Cyber Bulling Research Organization. There are laws against hate crimes of which you can be put in jail for up to 15 years for committing the crime. Cyber bullies are harassing because of prejudice and hate; therefore, they should be getting the same consequence as any others who commit hate crimes.
Third, cyber bulling is harassment by invading someone's personal privacy. When someone posts or sends degrading pictures or comments of someone, they are invading that person's personal privacy and is against the law. Personal privacy is protected in the Declaration of Human rights, the international covenant on Civil and political rights. Personal Privacy, is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves or information about themselves and thereby reveal themselves selectively. Bullying online is in fact harassment, because it is unwanted by the victim and can be threatening towards the victim.
In conclusion cyber bullying is very real and very harmful. It threatens thousands of kids and teens each year and causes some teens to commit suicide. Let's stop cyber bullying before it gets to the point of physical abuse. I and my partner are in firm affirmation of this resolution because It can result in suicide, it can be considered a hate crime, and it may be considered a form of harassment of personal privacy.
Cyber-bullying has no universal definition, and for this debate, that is a very large issue, as you will hear in my third contention, but for this debate, it will be helpful to think of cyber-bullying as: a one minor being targeted by another through technology. This may sound vague, but cyber-bullying is a loose term used to describe a plethora of technological misconduct.
Argument 1: Alternatives to criminalization are sufficient to address to problem
1) Many teens don't actually realize they are cyber-bullying others
a) Cyberbullying.org tells us: "Many teens appear to have limited understanding of potential harm or damage from inappropriate information disclosure" Thus Many teens would not realize they were breaking any laws.
2) School education programs work
a) Noted Criminologist Justin Patchin states "The vast majority of these cases can and should be dealt with informally in schools with parents." Meaning that almost all instances of Cyber-Bullying ought not be dealt with in court
b) The Olweus education plan has seen 50% reduction within the first year of implementation. This and other forms of school education should be at least attempted before jumping strait to criminalization
3) Parent education programs also would be effective
a) According to Adam Thierer: In the same way it is only parents who can teach their children proper etiquette by drilling it into their heads, so also it is really only parents who can teach their kids the proper way to act online."
b) This problem is best summarized by Raven Clabough: "The anti-bullying laws do not compensate for ineffective parenting [thus] they cannot possible achieve what they are set out to do."
Argument 2: Cyber-Bullying would be extremely problematic to enforce, and create more problems then it solved
1) There are too many kids who cyber-bully, the government would not be able to prosecute them all
a) 53% of kids admit having said something mean or hurtful to another person online This means that about 26 millions kids would be liable for cyber-bullying prosecution
b) Our current criminal justice system could not be able to handle this.
c)A question to the pro case, where will the money for this investigation and prosecution of 26 million kids come from?
2) Even if all the Cyber-bullies could be caught, the prosecution of all of them would not be beneficial.
a) 26 million kids, under the new cyber-bullying laws would be liable for prosecution; this means that 26 million kids would get a criminal record. How is this helping solve to problem.
b) According to bullyingadvice.info, a common response to cyber-bullying is to cyber bully back. Therefore, criminalization will end up hurting victims.
3) Criminialization will actually create more problems
a) In an article in the New York Times entitled "As bullies to digital, parents play catch-up" Jan Hoffman outlines how destructive criminalization can be
b) Hoffman interviews many different people in the article and here are some of the highlights are these:
i) When a parent when to the police, they tried to talk her out of prosecuting because the bully was probably someone they knew and once she signed the police form, they had to prosecute the case.
ii) In that same investigation detectives had to subpoena facebook and Comcast because, even though it's participants where breaking the law, they would not cooperate with the police.
iii) After prosecution began, The family began receiving malicious anonymous calls
iv) And now after his sentence has been completed, one of the cyber-bullies is believed to be back on facebook, once again.
c) This is the true face of cyber-bullying laws: Broken friendships, oscricized defendants, uncooperative internet sites, post-prosecution retribution, and after everything, some kids still don't change.
Argument 3: The Criminalization of Cyber-Bullying is triply unconstitutional.
1) Cyber-Bullying laws are against the 1st amendment
a) The First amendment guarantees that we have the freedom of speech and the Freedom of Religion
b) If a Cyber-bullying law was passed, religiously and politically charged statements would be indistinguishable from Cyber-Bullying.
i) Take an overweight 6th grader for example. On his facebook (For which i might mention he is not old enough to have in the first place) Someone posted: "u better stop eating so much, cuz ur fat and gonna die soon." Under the proposed cyber-bullying laws such a statement would make the poster liable for prosecution and jail time. But what if the poster was the overweight child's friend who just learn about the dangers of obesity from health class and was concerned enough about his friend to tell him of the danger. Now a 6th grader is going to jail simply because he lacked tack when talking about another's weight issues.
ii) Another example: A teenager posts: "Joe black has come out of the closet and is now a homosexual." Someone comments: "Homosexuality is a sin, if you continue in it you will go to hell." again, this would be considered cyber-bullying in most people's minds, so the poster would be sent to jail. But it very well might be that the poster had good intentions, trying to save a dear friend from the wrath of God, but it was misinterpreted and now once again a well meaning, normally law abiding citizen has a criminal record.
c) In other words if Cyber-Bullying laws were passed, the government would be telling us what religious, political, or other statements we can and cannot say. So we have freedom of religion and speech, as long as we don't exercise them online.
d) Finally, Criminal offenses are prosecuted by the government, therefore charges cannot be dropped. In other words, once prosecuters get a hold of the case, the defendant cannot say "Oops, sorry this was a missunderstanding"
2) Cyber-Bullying laws are against the 14th and 5th amendments
a)The 14th and 5th amendments state that all citizens are entitled to due process of the law
b) One of the foundational concepts of Due process is void for vagueness doctrine. This states that:
i) First, Citizens must be given adequate notice of their legal obligations. They must understand the laws
ii) Second, Laws must not be predisposed to arbitrary or discriminatory rulings.
iii) Else the law must be overturned
c) By the 14th amendment, you cannot constitutionally create a law without providing adequate explanation for its implications. There is not universal definition for cyber-bullying. Without a definition, you cannot have Cyber Bullying laws
d) As I stated before, heated debates and careless statments are indistinguishable from Cyber-Bullying, this means those with extreme political or religious views, or those that lack tackful speech will be arbitrarily prosecuted, this, by the 14th amendment, is also unconstitutional
While cyber bullying laws may seem like a good idea on the outside, they will only do more harm than good by:
1. Ignoring better alternatives
2. Creating more problems than it solves
3. Remove our constitutional rights
I urge you see past the surface issues and to see Cyber-Bullying laws for what they are. The facts demand a con vote. Thank You.
1) Your entire 1st argument is a hasty generalization logical fallacy (http://en.wikipedia.org...) just because Phoebe was raped and commited suiced, does mean that is a general case. You need statisics to prove that. Second you never proved criminalization will actually solve to problem.
2) How can you prove every instance of CB is a hate crime?
3) To prosecute CB, you need evidence, wouldn't investigation invade personal space
Thanks, good luck! :)
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by afortifiedcity 6 years ago
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