Julianne Grayson, freelance writer for HomeSecurity.org
Cyberbullying differs from cyberstalking primarily in that there is a minor involved. Tragically, cyberbullying has become a popular form of torment for some teens and preteens. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 6% of U.S. middle school and high school students experienced cyberbullying in 2009. While physically bullied children are more likely to be cyberbullied by their fellow students, perhaps because they have already been targeted, any child can be victimized.
The National Crime Prevention council defines cyberbullying as a form of cyber harassment. State laws differ, but most jurisdictions agree that anyone, adult or minor, who engages in harassing, embarrassing, threatening or humiliating behavior of a child under 18 is guilty of cyberbullying. While all 50 states have laws that prosecute bullying, many are still in the process of developing the legal ramifications to online bullying; however, nearly all states prosecute electronic harassment. The anonymity of the web makes it difficult to trace perpetrators. Minors can face a charge of juvenile delinquency, although the hope is that a responsible adult will be able to intervene and end the bullying before it truly escalates.