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States Seek Laws to Curb Online Bullying

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the let's-all-take-off-our-left-shoe dept.

Education 251

An anonymous reader writes to tell us that many states are considering laws to help crack down on "cyberbullying". "Steven Brown, executive director of the Rhode Island branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, said it will be difficult to draft a cyberbullying law that doesn't infringe on free-speech rights. 'The fact that two teenagers say nasty things about each other is a part of growing up,' he said. 'How much authority does a school have to monitor, regulate and punish activities occurring inside a student's home?' In Arkansas, the state Senate this month passed a bill calling on school districts to set up policies to address cyberbullying only after it was amended to settle concerns about students' free-speech rights."

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Moo (4, Insightful)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097554)

Dupe [slashdot.org] .

Reagan said it of government, i say it of schools. Replace the "government" with "school" and "economic" with "scholastic" from here [reaganfoundation.org] .

The economic ills we suffer have come upon us over several decades. They will not go away in days, weeks, or months, but they will go away. They will go away because we as Americans have the capacity now, as we've had in the past, to do whatever needs to be done to preserve this last and greatest bastion of freedom.

In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we've been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden. The solutions we seek must be equitable, with no one group singled out to pay a higher price.

And this time it will be the same. (2, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097642)

Post a story about some teacher demanding that some kid take down his personal, non-school website calling the teacher a poopy-head and the /. comments will be against the teacher, citing "free speech".

Post a story about some teacher demanding that some kid take down his personal, non-school website calling some kid a poopy-head and the /. comments will be for the teacher, citing "I was bullied when I was a kid".

Either the school does control the lives of the kids outside of school or it does not.

The authority of the school should end where the school grounds end.

Um... No? (3, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097752)

At least, I hope not. Free speech is something that we shouldn't have a double standard about.

I admit it—I was bullied when I was a kid. And yet, I still don't believe that government should step in to force kids (or anyone, for that matter) to take down their personal, non-school web sites.

I'm not sure why you're assuming that /.'ers will in general put overprotectionism over free speech. I'd guess the exact opposite.

Read the comments on the dupe. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097864)

I'm not sure why you're assuming that /.'ers will in general put overprotectionism over free speech. I'd guess the exact opposite.

Read the comments on the dupe.

Free speech is something that we shouldn't have a double standard about.

I agree with that. But there is also a tendency for people to look to "authority" for "protection" from "threats".

Even when that authority should NOT have any authority over the perceived "threat". Which is why I referenced the "bullying".

Once people start expecting/demanding that an "authority" provide them "protection", that authority will not willingly yield any of its newly found power.

Re:Um... No? (2, Insightful)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098090)

But we already have a different set of standards for children, and not only is it accepted, it's exactly the way it should be.

We personal freedoms comes personal responsibility. Children under 18 are normally (except in extreme cases) not held responsible for their actions. If my son breaks my neighbors window, I'm responsible - even if I subsequently make my son work it off.

Likewise, if my son libels or slanders someone, they'll come to me looking for restitution.

[disclaimer: can't = it's not legal to do so]

Kid's can't drive. They can't vote. They can't buy or consume alcohol. They can't go to R rated movies. They can't buy cigarettes. Do I need to go on?

So the difference here is that the parents should be watching what their kids are doing, not the government, but if we had some policy where kids could only publish online after their parent's approval, we'd get a bunch of young slashdot punks complaining about that, too.

Now, all that said - I agree that the government ought to just keep out of it. The last thing we need is more government intervention in our lives. These are just websites; they cannot hurt anybody. If the site is threatening or libelous, then the target of the offence, and his or her parents, can take legal action already. We don't need more laws.

Stop bullying IN the school first! (3, Interesting)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098628)

The authority of the school should end where the school grounds end.

Do something about bullying on campus first before claiming any authority off campus. Something other than Zero Tolerance which punishes the victims disproportionally because the perpetrators know how not to get caught (or is on the sports team).

And stop putting one Good Kid between two troublemakers just because you can't police your own classroom.

And where the hell does a public school get the authority to force the whole student bodychool to attend a funeral in the gym during school hours for one of those two troublemakers who died playing chicken against the other one! Where every student had to walk past the damn open casket! And then the first students through decided to hug the parents, so everyone after them felt they had to too! The school even posted teachers at the exits so no one would leave and never told anyone that attendance was voluntary!

The law would not even be useful (5, Interesting)

Noonian Soong (1016626) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097562)

Laws are not the key to solving social problems - education is. While I would say that in some cases a law may change the public perception of a situation and may even change something, with teenagers this will most likely not work. It may even have the opposite effect than intended - it might make bullying "cooler" because you're breaking a law.

Another question is what should happen to the people breaking that law? Do we want to have teenagers to pay fines for it or do we let them do social work somewhere? Will that have the intended effect on them?

Like the article stated, teachers need to talk to their students and the parents need to participate in this as well. Nobody should feel good by bullying someone else and this cannot be achieved by passing a law.

Re:The law would not even be useful (4, Insightful)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097606)

teachers need to talk to their students and the parents need to participate in this as well.

Absolutely not! That is completely backwards!

Parents need to talk to their students and the teachers to reinforce this as well.

Re:The law would not even be useful (1)

Noonian Soong (1016626) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098098)

Parents need to talk to their students and the teachers to reinforce this as well.
You're right. I didn't mean to say the teachers should be the ones to mainly do this job. It's just that the article deals with schools and what they should do about bullying and this is why I named the teachers first.

Re:The law would not even be useful (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098156)

didn't mean to say the teachers should be the ones to mainly do this job.

OK, just making sure. :)

Re:The law would not even be useful (4, Insightful)

Touvan (868256) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098452)

As a parent I disagree with your statement, on it's face. Sure, it's my responsibility to teach my children to do the right thing, and I surely do that to the best of my ability.

Still, it remains fact that not all kids have parents that are going to teach vital life skills, like how to organize, study, and get along with others. It remains fact that the rest of us, and our children still have to deal with these less than prepared people, and their children. And it remains fact, that schools can and should do something about it.

We just need the political and social will to make policies that teach this stuff. There are plenty of books on the subject, some even demonstrating what can be done by both teachers and parents, such as "They Don't Like Me: Lessons on Bullying and Teasing from a Preschool Classroom" [amazon.com] .

In an ideal world, parents would all do the right thing. In reality, many of them are not prepared for the task, and could use a little help. For the sake of the rest of us, and for their sake, I think we should address that reality.

Responsibility (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097762)

Education probably won't do much either. Who does not know that bullying is bad?

Why should schools be doing this? What is wrong with the parents?

Schools started off being there for education, then sport and now they're also day care -- a place to dump the kids so that the parents can go to work. Should they also be the moral guardians too? If this trend continues, the schools/government will own your kids and allow you to borrow them for a few hours on weekends.

Not only that, but we already *have* relevant laws (2)

Rearden82 (923468) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098548)

It's illegal to walk up to someone and verbally abuse them, make harassing telephone calls, write them threatening letters, etc.

How does bullying someone via e-mail or IM make the situation any different? WTF is the point in making yet another law when we already HAVE applicable laws against harassment and intimidation?

is it bullying when your frost piss is -1 ed? (-1, Troll)

nietsch (112711) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097582)

some text here to pass the lameness filter.

Re:is it bullying when your frost piss is -1 ed? (4, Funny)

Ctrl+Alt+De1337 (837964) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097658)

No, but it is still stupidity when you miss that "Post Anonymously" check box there above the submit button.

Steve Ballmer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18097586)

Will this apply in his bullying?

Re:Steve Ballmer? (1)

Evilest Doer (969227) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098416)

Steve Ballmer?

Will this apply in his bullying?

Nah. Even though he acts like it, he is no longer in grade school.

This shit is out of control (5, Interesting)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097614)

The answer isn't to shield kids from bullying, it's to teach them how to deal with it. Someone talks shit, get up in their face and make them back it up or back the fuck off. Someone shoves you, you deck them. I tried the ignore them stuff until I was a Junior in High School, at which point I started forcing kids to put up or shut up. Someone started running their mouth? Got right in their face less than a foot away and told them, either hit me or shut the fuck up, cause talkin shit is for pussies. Someone shoved me? They got thrown against a locker and told if they wanna get physical, they better be ready to fight. Wanna know what happened once I started doing that? Wouldn't ya know it, they stopped that shit, hell some of them even became good friends of mine after a while. Acting like a little bitch and running for someone else to protect you or shield you from the evils of the world isn't productive, it's how things like Columbine happen. Back in the day there weren't school shootings cause kids weren't taught to be little girls and cry everytime someone was mean, they were taught to stand up for themselves.

Re:This shit is out of control (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18097676)

Yeah yeah, slug 'em and they go away. Except for the case where they come back later with their friends, and it just escalates until you've got guns and knives in school. Nah, that'd never happen.

Re:This shit is out of control (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097820)

I think the Parent is assuming the normal Suburban school situations. In more Urban areas where Gangs are present fighting back alone is sucide, because they will be back with their gang.

Re:This shit is out of control (5, Insightful)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098086)

Mod parent up. Confrontation only works when you're in a predominantly middle-class suburban setting. In settings where gangs are common, doing something like the GP is incredibly dangerous. Sock one in the face? Welcome to the ICU, if you're lucky.

IMHO the answer to bullying is not "toughen up, hit 'em back", nor is it a bunch of inane laws that cannot ever be enforced. It all comes down to the school's ability to discipline their students, and the parents' willingness to discipline their children.

No amount of school-enforced punishment will be effective if the child goes home and is congratulated by the parent(s) for bullying yet another high school loser. I know of many parents who would do just such a thing, without realizing the kind of little monsters they are creating.

People bully in order to use the misery of others as a way to elevate themselves in the eyes of their peers. Nobody bullies alone, the mob mentality is a critical component of that behavior. Until the majority of people have no tolerance for bullying, and will stand up not only for themselves but others as well when bullied, this kind of thing will continue.

And it is unfortunate. For someone caught in bullying (like I once was) there is simply no way out. If you're in a safe enough environment you can sock 'em in the face and be done with it, but if they're part of the Chinese mafia there's really nothing you can do. Schools have their hands tied to giving out punishments that don't even amount to slaps on the wrist, and most often if a child has gotten to that point his/her parents are probably douchebags who can't be bothered to discipline their own children. In this case there is absolutely nothing a bullied child can do.

People often look at the bullied kids that snap, and point out the ills of our society (rap music, comic books, video games, whatever the problem du jour is). I for one sympathize with many of them. It is difficult for people who have never been bullied to comprehend the level of powerlessness that it instills in you. I've gone through a lot of crap since high school, and everything pales in comparison to the sheer powerless terror that you walk into school with every morning. In our modern atmosphere of classifying everything bad as "terrorism", it's a damned shame that bullying is not, 'cos IMHO it's probably the closest thing to terrorism that happens regularly in America.

Disclaimer: I do not condone nor endorse the actions of the ones that snap. I am merely saying that I can see why they did, and where they were coming from. When you are in a constant state of terror and fear, and live in a society that tolerates and seemingly encourages it, with absolutely no system or people to turn to, certain crazy things start looking not-as-crazy.

Re:This shit is out of control (1)

cnoocy (452211) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098478)

Thank you for posting this. School is a place for learning, and should not be a place where kids need to worry about their physical safety. For some students, it is the only such place in their lives, and the key to escaping an unhealty situation.

Re:This shit is out of control (3, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097724)

Someone talks shit, get up in their face and make them back it up or back the fuck off.

They may be kinda hard for the crippled kid who receives shit every day because he has to use a walker.

Re:This shit is out of control (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097832)

A walker can be a lethal weapon if used correctly.

Re:This shit is out of control (5, Insightful)

GiovanniZero (1006365) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097726)

Oh how I wish it could be like that. When I was in high school, if someone walked up to me that I had never seen before and punched me in the face I would be suspended. That was the rule. That is what is so stupid about our system.

Laws leave room for self defense where schools do not. I was once jumped by 5 kids and somehow I was the one that got in trouble, oh yeah probably because I fought back.

If our system keeps on breeding people like this we're just going to have more columbines and more extreme violence. A couple kids getting in a fight might be bad but it's probably not as bad as letting them build up whatever hate they have before exploding.

Re:This shit is out of control (1)

lmpeters (892805) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098022)

When I was in high school, if someone walked up to me that I had never seen before and punched me in the face I would be suspended. That was the rule.

<Dr. Phil>How's that working for ya, America?</Dr. Phil>

Re:This shit is out of control (4, Insightful)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098204)

We were fighting in school long before Columbine. There's been fighting in schools ever since there's been schools.

I've made it clear to my kids that they cannot start a fight. However, regardless of school policy, if they fight back they have my support 100%. There are long term effects to the psyche by learning not to stand up for yourself and backing down to every threat.

I've wailed on guys a lot bigger than me for bullying, and even when I lost they stopped bullying me because they knew I'd fight back.

The best defense for verbal abuse is eye-rolling and walking away. That pisses people off a lot more than trying to come back with some snarky retort and failing, or being a big baby about it and crying to the teacher (which makes things worse 100% of the time).

Re:This shit is out of control (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18097728)

You must be new here. Welcome to Slashdot.

Re:This shit is out of control (5, Funny)

Marko DeBeeste (761376) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097750)

They take out a knife, you take out a gun.

They send one of yours to the hospital, you send one of theirs to the morgue.

That's the Chicago way.

Re:This shit is out of control (1)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097754)

Amen to that.

I was bullied in school until I fractured someone's nose in front of their friends.

All of a sudden no one wanted to make fun of me anymore.

Re:This shit is out of control (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097994)

Exactly. I was picked on a lot until I wigged out a couple times. At least they held me back from the second kid.

Re:This shit is out of control (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18097850)

Interesting . . ..

I have the opposite set of personal experience and memories.

My parents were very careful to teach me that physical threats, emotional responses, and physical replies to such represent animalistic behavior. Because they worked as hard as they did to reinforce this concept in me, when I was in school and some punk came up and tried to bully me, I treated him like a barking dog, because that is EXACTLY how much significance he had in my mind.

I walked away. I didn't run. I didn't find someone to protect me. I knew that I was demonstrating my existence as a human being by refusing to join them in animalistic behavior.

Yes, as a side note, when I discovered Frank Herbert, I enjoyed the read.

Different strokes for different folks. That's the beauty of our variances.

Re:This shit is out of control (1)

AutopsyReport (856852) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097868)

You might think the 'fight back' response is appropriate for everyone, but bullying is definitely not the same for girls. You can act all tough about how you forced your bullies to man-up, but the reality is many kids are not in a position to do that, and they aren't encouraged by their peers or parents to respond that way. Many don't have the self-esteem, strength, and courage to stand up to someone. Especially when that someone is a group of bullies.

I never got bullied around as a kid because I, like you, didn't take shit from anyone. I wasn't unnecessarily violent, but I also wasn't submissive. It worked for me, but I had the courage and know-better to do something about it. Many kids don't.

Teaching people to stand up for themselves is the solution. You can't remove the evil in this world, but you can learn to stand up to it. If a future kid of mine gets bullied, they will learn to stand up to it. Intervention might be required, but I'll be damn sure that I'm not intervening at the first signs of bullying because my kid will be submissive and come to expect help from others. I still know people that cannot handle confrontation -- even hanging up on a telemarketer.

It's a dog-eat-dog world for the rest of us, and for kids, it's no different. The earlier they adapt to confrontation, the sooner the problems of bullying become insignificant to them.

Re:This shit is out of control (2, Interesting)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097906)

Back in the day there weren't school shootings cause kids weren't taught to be little girls and cry everytime someone was mean, they were taught to stand up for themselves.

Actually, I think it was more or less that people born before 1970 were expected to respect authority as children.

Although children often disagreed, authority had the whereabouts to force them to comply most of the time usually through say... Corporal punishment regardless of age.

Since I didn't live in that period I am not sure, but I suppose there were some other social break down factors involved.

Either way... Do you want to teach your children to respond to violence with violence and to stand up for themselves? I mean it is a noble cause but people who stand up for themselves in modern violent situations usually end up as a dead hero when they try to stand up to the gun man or whatever criminal they encounter in life.

Perhaps the real problem is communication between the children and authority. Bullying can be prevented by interacting with the parents of the bully and the school authority. If it can't be manage the child has to be expelled.

Of course those are those scenarios we see in popular media in which the child is bullied by a popular person who the school authorities are in league with.

If that is true then there is an underlying problem with society that we can't fix with my method or your method but rather actually passing laws that correct schools by firing school officials who do not correct bullying rather than this stupid cyber laws that are impossible to enforce against students.

Zero Tolerance (1, Interesting)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097932)

Welcome to Zero Tolerance, where even if you're defending yourself you will get into (serious) trouble for a violent encounter ...

The fact is whether you realize it or not you will be dealing with bullies for the rest of your life; they may be a co-worker, your boss or even a relative. Rarely (as an adult) is a confrontation an appropriate way to deal with bullies so why should you start to teach your child to deal with it that way; imagine your child being "bullied" by their boss and responding with "Hey bitch, wana go?" ...

I'm not saying that it isn't appropriate to teach your children to defend themselves, but fighting is an inappropriate behavior which should be discouraged.

Re:Zero Tolerance (1)

Suriyel (230254) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098472)

You'd be amazed at what can be solved with a minor dust up every once in awhile. Zero tolerance just creates a pressure cooker. In stead of a scuffle and stare down, one side decides to "make it worth it", generally the victim.

I hate to break it to you, but humans are animals, and physical and mental domination and the rituals used to establish it are part of our nature. What zero tolerance does is remove the ritual that evolved to limit the damage caused in establishing dominance.

Re:Zero Tolerance (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098578)

This isn't just wrong, it is horribly wrong.

You don't always have the luxury of pretending you
are in some fantasyland created by Gene Roddenberry.
It may not just be yourself at risk but you may also
be responsible for someone else and you need to be
prepared to meet that responsibility.

Re:This shit is out of control (1)

klang (27062) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097952)

But running for mommy (your lawyer) prepares you for the American society!

Re:This shit is out of control (1)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098048)

"I realize you are a big jock on the football team, Letterman, and enjoyed kicking sand in my face at the beach this summer, Also that I am a big eared nerd with taped glasses and a pen protector in pocket, but if you don't do what I say My Space will display those compromising pictures of the party at Coach's house that you THOUGHT you had erased from your phone. Oh and don't worry, I PROMISE Becky-Sue will enjoy her date with me.."

Re:This shit is out of control (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098206)

Oh and don't worry, I PROMISE Becky-Sue will enjoy her date with me.."
Hey-- that's MY pie!

Re:This shit is out of control (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098060)

Which works great when you're not about half the size of the person in question, or facing groups of 5-7 people. In those situations you're just going to get your ass kicked.

Of course, sometimes there's going to be an asskicking either way, so sometimes in those cases it's best to get your licks in and hope you can knock a few of them down before they can all shitkick you, or just prove to them that you're too psycho to f*** around with.

(yes, even when they're small little buggers, nobody messed with the "psycho" kids)

Re:This shit is out of control (1, Insightful)

TheCrayfish (73892) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098168)

I know I'm going to get flagged as a troll or flamebait, but I truly believe that this sort of legislative thinking is the natural product of electing liberals into office, whether they be liberal Democrats or liberal Republicans. Unfortunately, it's an alluring illusion -- this idea that we can solve all our problems, protect everyone from everything, and ensure that everyone has an above-average income just by passing some more laws. It's like continuously enhancing and patching a system that works well but which lacks certain bells and whistles -- eventually all of the great engineering that went into the original design (e.g., The US Constitution) gets corrupted and crippled by the endless tweaking, patching, and enhancing.

True political conservatives (as opposed to moral conservatives or economic conservatives) believe that a good, basic set of principles as described in something like our Constitution should be all that we need to protect our freedoms and property. Any great body of laws beyond that is actually more likely to diminsh freedom and risk personal property than secure them. Unfortunately, the allure of the "just one more law will fix everything" siren is, for most people, irresistable.

Re:This shit is out of control (3, Informative)

Lockejaw (955650) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098718)

The nanny state is neither a liberal nor a conservative ideal. It is an authoritarian one. There are authoritarian liberals and authoritarian conservatives.

Re:This shit is out of control (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098192)

Back in the day there weren't school shootings cause kids weren't taught to be little girls and cry everytime someone was mean, they were taught to stand up for themselves.

I'm looking forward to the day that the bullies and folks like you are both held to adult criminal standards while in school and kids are taught to report and press charges on any bullies so we'd have these bullies all jailed. Verbal and physical assualt is wrong. It doesn't matter if you are 2, 6, 12, 18, 25, or 35. It is wrong and you should be sent some where bad and punished for it. The problem is that we seperate out minors and adults just because of age. We need to treat all humans the same and apply adult laws to current minors as soon as is practical. It might be that we should just lower the minor age from 18 to 12 or to 8. Once you get that age, you get arrested and go through a judical process of your peers and properly sentenced as any other person should be. I dislike this stand up for yourself line of BS. It doesn't work because typically standing up for yourself involves you breaking the law to beat the shit out of someone.

Re:This shit is out of control (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098672)

You know, you do get to defend yourself in this society (except mebbe in California) even if you are an adult. The Police are not bodyguards and they can't be counted on to babysit everyone. Every once and awhile you find yourself on your own facing off against people who have no sense of scruples or consequences. Attempting to ignore that fact is simply dellusional.

Re:This shit is out of control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18098292)

Yea that's all well in good but one day you may come across the guy that'll put a bullet in your head or as I've seen growing up in my high school, you stand up for yourself you have the same guy and 10 of his friends jump you later on. Of course I was bullied/picked on but it never got too serious or to the point my physical well being was threatened so I just let it slide.

anyhow little long but a good read

http://www.paulgraham.com/nerds.html [paulgraham.com]

Re:This shit is out of control (1)

jswigart (1004637) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098306)

Most of the time it's a gang or gang member thats bullying in the first place, so this ridiculous advice that you should step up, as if it was a Saturday morning Disney show with 1 bully and the rest of the school silently on your side is bullshit. There's a reason real professionals recommend against that sort of behavior most of the time. These arm chair slashdot shrinks give some dangerous advice. In some circumstances fighting back might be a worthy consideration, but it's not very often that is the case. I was bullied in school, and never retaliated, because the guy that was doing it had a history of bullying, and in a few rare circumstances where someone 'put him in his place', the bullying didn't stop at all. At that point their pride is hurt, and if you think they are going to run off and hide you are sorely mistaken. This guy would retaliate with a bat or something after school. Happened several times. Without a doubt something needs to be done about bullying by the system. Fighting back rarely gets you anything but a guaranteed ass kicking by their friends after school. Yes bullies have friends, contrary to how they are shown on TV most of the time, and many of them are in gangs or the gangs take part in it. Good luck teaching your kid to fight them all at once. Not going to happen.

Re:This shit is out of control (2, Insightful)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098470)

And so dispute resolution by violence is perpetuated to another generation...

Maybe things are different now than they were when I was a kid. I wasn't terribly interested in advancing my standing within the group by picking on someone else and the few times I got hassled, I just walked away. Yes, I got called a chicken, but so what? I was interested in neither their opinion nor the macho BS game that they wanted to play. Eventually people learn that they can't get under your skin enough to make you react and go away.

The single law we really need for this crap: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18097668)

"If you have kids, be a goddamn GOOD, ATTENTIVE PARENT or YOU get punished harshly for what the kid does. Period."

Doubleyew Tee Eff, Mate (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097674)

much authority does a school have to monitor, regulate and punish activities occurring inside a student's home


They shouldn't have any authority as to what goes on inside a student's home. In fact, they shouldn't have any authority what goes on outside of their campus.

Home? That should be the parents domain. Now, if the parents go and actually ask the school for help, well that's different...same thing goes with the student, if he asks for the school's help then they should help.

Unless they are asked for their assistance, school's should have ZERO input on what goes on OUTSIDE of their campus. The only time I would disagree with that is if something is happening, the parents are unaware, and the child wont tell them.

too late (1)

Skadet (528657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098216)

They shouldn't have any authority as to what goes on inside a student's home. In fact, they shouldn't have any authority what goes on outside of their campus.
Oh, but they do, at least in the US.

You can be visited by a truancy officer if your kid isn't at school, or is observed outside of school during school hours. Your child can be taken into state custody by CPS if they think something "isn't right". Families are often harassed for home schooling their children. Believe me, America's public school system is a huge, powerful, and very scary force.

Re:too late (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098580)

Oh I know that they already do (unfortunately)...I'm simply saying that they shouldn't be able to.

Think again chap (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098354)

They shouldn't have any authority as to what goes on inside a student's home. In fact, they shouldn't have any authority what goes on outside of their campus.
...
Unless they are asked for their assistance, school's should have ZERO input on what goes on OUTSIDE of their campus.
http://www.google.com/search?q=disrupt+school+envi ronment [google.com]

Student Press Law Center [splc.org]
"Schools always had the ability to regulate speech and actions that disrupt the educational environment," [sayeth the Principle of a highschool]

Everyone has a right to an education. If some fuckwit interferes with that right to an education, the school can punish the perpetrator, even if it happens outside of school hours.

Re:Think again chap (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098516)

How does some fat lonely bully making fun of a kid over AIM prevent the child from getting an education?

Now, if he threatens to beat him up at school tomorrow, then the school should intervene because ***gasp*** it's at school.

You calling me a bitch on the phone doesn't stop me from going to trig class.

Ugh (4, Informative)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097678)

I just watched something on TV about Cyber-bullying. This obese girl demonstrated how she was constantly picked on over the internet. The result? She was getting floods of IM's from about 3 people saying nasty things. She begins crying like her life is over. Apparently, right clicking on their screenname and click "block this user" is too dificult a solution :|

+5, Sad (1)

Skadet (528657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098078)

If there were a +Sad modifier, I'd use it on your post. I understand what you're saying -- that blocking offensive communication on the Internet is pretty easy -- but I think you're discounting the effect of the harassment. If you've ever received a harassing phone call, you know what I mean; you can hang up easy enough, set a custom ringer to silent, but it's still kind of unnerving.

Does this mean there should be regulations? Eh. I don't think that's the logical conclusion. It just made me kind of sad to see your lack of empathy for that girl.

Damn ACLU (3, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097682)

While I think this law is stupid as well, it is because of enforcement reasons, not free speech.

Give me a friggin break! Since when is bullying protected under free speech rights? What the hell is NOT protected under free speech? Can I smoke at work as a protest against the proletariat? Can I smack around some ACLU lawyers to show my displeasure with NAMBLA? Would the ACLU protect my right to do so? Could 9-11 be considered "Protest Terrorism"?

I love the Bill of Rights more than the next guy, but the ACLU needs to get a friggin grip!

Re:Damn ACLU (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097748)

None of the activities you mention are speech. Posting nasty messages about someone online clearly is speech. Don't tell me you can't see the difference.

Re:Damn ACLU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18097812)

I think you are mentally ill.

Re:Damn ACLU (2, Informative)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097840)

Yeah, the key here is that the "bullying" the law is trying to address in this case is the same as "verbal harassment" and, in extreme cases, "verbal assault". Those are the definitions that should probably be used, and I'm not convinced that a new law should be created to deal with a special case of them over the Internet.

Of course, if those terms aren't defined or aren't illegal, then I'd agree with Mr. Brown that it would be difficult to define without infringing on first amendment rights. If you read TFA, you'll see that all he says is that writing the law and enforcing the law would be difficult. He's only got two lines about him in the whole article.

Re:Damn ACLU (1)

lostatredrock (972881) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097896)

I can't think of any reason why bullying shouldn't be protected by the first amendment. Did you mean to say I love the Bill of Rights as long as it only protects the kind of speech I like? That's what it sounds like to me.

Does bullying effectively add to any kind of political decent? Probably not. But I fail to see how it even comes close to the standards we set for situations in which free speech can be restricted.

Re:Damn ACLU (1)

Dan Slotman (974474) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097928)

Unlike some forms of traditional bullying, cyberbullying has to be speech because you can't physically hit someone over the internet. The speech of a bully saying harmful things is just as protected as my ability to make this post. Similarly, the speech of groups like the KKK or neo-nazis to promote their agendas is similarly protected. It doesn't matter if that speech is harmful to others, it is still protected.

Perhaps you could explain why you think this is not a free speech issue?

Re:Damn ACLU (1)

bricko (1052210) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097934)

But Bullies have always served a useful purpose. They have a keen "loser" radar and can usually spot a young Loser early on. This way they can be pointed out to all and be made fun of from the start. You hate to let one get away and not find them until later in life...like Bill Gates or Balmer..

Re:Damn ACLU (5, Insightful)

hamburger lady (218108) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098034)

CWhat the hell is NOT protected under free speech? Can I smoke at work as a protest against the proletariat?

smoking isn't speech.

Can I smack around some ACLU lawyers to show my displeasure with NAMBLA?

physical assault isn't speech.

Could 9-11 be considered "Protest Terrorism"?

blowing up buildings isn't speech.

Stupid Stupid STUPID (3, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097716)

The government cannot regulate morals, at least they *shouldn't*.

There are laws for slander, libel, and other manner of social discord that allow us to deal with such problems already. The fact that the Internet and computers have added a new dimension to society does not mean that we need new laws. We simply need to revise current laws to include this new dimension.

That it happens in a school social setting is not new, as was stated, but the lack of training for students as to what constitutes libel, slander, or other actions that could result in litigation or penalties is sad.

Education is what is needed, not regulation. Less government, not more. Intelligence, not money will go the furthest towards eliminating such problems.

Yes, I believe that if they break a law on the Internet, it is a civil courts place to punish that person rather than the school's place. No more he said, she said. Lets have them show the judge and let the judge decide if there is anything to punish. Perhaps a special court to streamline such cases, but make it court. Punishment is then meted out in a legally binding way rather than arbitrary decisions of school leaders.

Punishments for minors is not a bad thing as schools, parks, and other public places need cleaning and looking after. A little community service gives them time to think about what they did.

Re:Stupid Stupid STUPID (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097780)

That it happens in a school social setting is not new, as was stated, but the lack of training for students as to what constitutes libel, slander, or other actions that could result in litigation or penalties is sad.

Oh give me a fucking break.

Students shouldn't be "educated" on how to become even more litigious than we already are. What people should be educated on is how to *personally* deal with the problems they face and how to not take out anger and persecution on others.

Learning to deal with these problems in the open helps you to better deal with the petty office drama that they may face in the future -- stuff that isn't in the open but instead behind your back. If you can't learn to deal with it at a young age, then you will fail in the work place of the future.

Re:Stupid Stupid STUPID (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098238)

Well Lawers are the ultimate weapon. You could just have the Kid arrested for Cyber Bulling and he may spend some days in Jail for Juvvy. Then when he gets out he thinks he is now the one tough guy. Or bring him to Cival Court for slander, Have a good lawer prove that this has irrevly effected you and your ability to succeed in the future and he could end up paying you for life. Every time he writes a check or cant buy something nice because he owes you money. Makes him feel small and petty. If he does fail to pay he doesn't get arested for being a tough man but just being a deadbeat. Being a Legitious Basard is far more rewarding and effective.

Re:Stupid Stupid STUPID (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098480)

That it happens in a school social setting is not new, as was stated, but the lack of training for students as to what constitutes libel, slander, or other actions that could result in litigation or penalties is sad.
Oh give me a fucking break.
Students shouldn't be "educated" on how to become even more litigious than we already are. What people should be educated on is how to *personally* deal with the problems they face and how to not take out anger and persecution on others.


This is why we need life recorders ASAP for our kids safety! How do you defend yourself? You document and submit as evidence a/v files that this individual was harrassing you and you felt fear of your person and the work, home, or school environment wasn't safe with said bully around. We need life recorders and to teach our kids not to sue, but how to successfully bring charges against others ASAP to remove undesirables from the population that you interact with. Bullying and threatening are or should be illegal. As we currently exist, it is hard for a minor or students word to mean anything againt another minor, adult and sometimes authority figures. With life recorders, anyone that commits a crime against a person will have a/v evidence against them that the individual should be taught to bring to police notice and ask to file charges against people and use your rights to their fullest. Bullies are common. It's often a family condition. You might have to have restraining order filed against an entire family for your families's safety. This is what the law is for because it's illegal for you to have your private feud and kill each other off that away. Kids need to be taught to use what power/control that they have over others ASAP. It'll be good when 18-22 year old voters are a stronger voting block than the over 65 voting block.

Re:Stupid Stupid STUPID (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098640)

Students shouldn't be "educated" on how to become even more litigious than we already are. What people should be educated on is how to *personally* deal with the problems they face and how to not take out anger and persecution on others.

That's a grand idea, but what do you do with those people who haven't been so educated? That's always been the issue, and if you can't go to the law then who do you go to?

Re:Stupid Stupid STUPID (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098732)

You're right.

Makes much more sense to arrest him for harrassment, assault or stalking and just make him do time.

Much more logical.

Less protections for the "bullies" (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098124)

Yes, what I think we really need is less protections for juveniles and/or their parents.

Kid fucks somebody's reputation over (and it can be very, very bad) with lies... nail 'em for slander.
Kid sucker-punches somebody and knocks out some teeth, nail 'em for assault

While kids are perhaps too young to have a firm grip on some of the finer points of law (hell, even most adults would), most of the shit that goes on should be understandable as illegal (and not just "oh, that's bad) by anyone past the fourth grade.

A couple of things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18098164)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slander_and_libel [wikipedia.org]

1 - Libel is not just a civil wrong, in many/most jurisdictions it is a criminal offence.

2 - Civil litigation is only for the rich. If some kid is being bullied by some other kid, it is entirely appropriate for an adult/teacher/cop to step in and put an end to it. Victims are often victims because they can't/won't stick up for themselves. You seem to be saying that it's ok for them to stay in that state permanently. It's not. Decent human beings protect the weak.

Hypocrites (1, Insightful)

argoff (142580) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097758)

If the government want's to stop bullying, they should shut themselves down. It is bad enough that they are such a bully around the world, but at home is unforgivible. The suspension of Habius Corpus, that's bullying. No knock warrants and random searches, that is bullying. Compulsitory education, that's bullying. The IRS, that's bullying. The "war on drugs", that's bullying. All the frivilous tickets they give out, that's bullying. Looser pays lawsuits, that's bullying. And they help a lot of other bullies, like the copyright and patent lawsuit cartels. Yeah, of course everyones acting like a bully. We have such a fine example.

Clearly, you avoided "compulsitory" education... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18098442)

...captcha "schooled"

It's not free speech... (1)

stubear (130454) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097814)

...when it becomes harassment. I think a law that defined cyberbullying as harassment would be much easier to enforce. As to the ACLU's comment, cyberbullying should NOT be a part of 'growing up', at least not to the levels many kids seem to be taking it these days.

Re:It's not free speech... (1)

lostatredrock (972881) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098160)

Why is it not free speech? Because it offends you? By that argument evolution and creationism should also be outlawed because they both offend many more people than bullying.

Re:It's not free speech... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18098496)

When it deprives (or attempts to deprive) someone of their rights.

Not all speech is protected, nor should it be:

1. Slander / Libel
2. Harrasment / Stalking
3. Threats of physical violence

Bullying (1)

Daishiman (698845) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097852)

Bullying is a societal failure. No amount of change of policy will be able to correct it. This is simply another feel-good piece of legislation.

Re:Bullying (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097892)

I don't think of it as a failure, it's simply representative of normal human behavior. We are mean creatures by nature.

Back in my dad's day (2, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097854)

No one had sympathy for bullies. They were understood as violent assholes and no judge, jury or parent except maybe their own parents cared if they got tore up at school by their victim. In the 50s when my dad was growing up, he beat the hell out of one such bully and the principal not only didn't even haul him into his office, but instead grabbed the bully, who was busted up and bleeding and pulled him into his office for a lecture before the dread phone call to mom and dad (who gave him a whipping that afternoon for picking fights). The threat of violence works. It is what human beings are conditioned to respect. Bullies frequently get away with it because today they're protected by bureaucrats ranging from school employees to social welfare people to the legal system. You beat one up today, you get expelled and possibly prosecuted. All of the laws against the use of force by students protect the aggressor today, not the victim. School shootings only happen because people refuse to admit that people like bullies only understand the language of violence.

I've used violence against bullies before, and I know from experience that it works. The more they bully, the more you make them suffer. Eventually, they get the idea and leave you alone. To paraphrase Heinlein, it's as easy as training a puppy.

Re:Back in my dad's day (1)

duflar (1066896) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098112)

Of course, some parents could be asked to do the unthinkable act of actually PARENTING!! Really, if a child commits suicide, you shouldn't ban the video game he was playing or the burger he was eating, or whatever. Your first step should probably be to investigate the parents to see if they need to have their other children taken away from them.

Re:Back in my dad's day (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098600)

The threat of violence works. It is what human beings are conditioned to respect. Bullies frequently get away with it because today they're protected by bureaucrats ranging from school employees to social welfare people to the legal system. You beat one up today, you get expelled and possibly prosecuted. All of the laws against the use of force by students protect the aggressor today, not the victim. School shootings only happen because people refuse to admit that people like bullies only understand the language of violence.

I've used violence against bullies before, and I know from experience that it works. The more they bully, the more you make them suffer. Eventually, they get the idea and leave you alone. To paraphrase Heinlein, it's as easy as training a puppy.


Um, both actions should be illegal. You aren't the cops, police or an authority figure. I don't want the police, teachers, or school admin beating the crap out of anyone they think or want to label as bullies. I don't think that you or those bullied should have to take it until you crack and commit what you see as corrective violence on the bully. Your corrective violence is wrong and is illegal and you should be locked up in jail for 30 days or so for punishment for it. Verbal assualt and threatening others is usually illegal or against the rules. Bullies should be thrown in jail as well. I don't want either set of violent prone individuals around me or my kids thank you. I'd want all the bullies or those that use corrective violence to be filtered into their own two seperate school systems and let them be keep away from those that haven't commited violence yet folks. The only solution to bullying is physical seperation from the bully. Violence on the bully isn't an acceptable form of treatment. Would you like all medical diseases or criminals to be treated to various forms of violence?

Re:Back in my dad's day (2, Insightful)

Lightwarrior (73124) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098602)

Violence is the worst way to train a dog. Dogs can't be reasoned with - you can't hit them and explain that you're doing it because they peed on the carpet. They just associate with whatever is going on at that exact moment with why they're getting hurt - be it you coming home and discovering the mess, or any other situation.

I'm not saying it doesn't "work" - yes, you CAN train a dog through pain. But with a little more patience and a lot more intelligence, you can train a dog with positive reinforcement for good deeds and scolding for bad ones. The result is better, and you didn't have to commit cruelty to an animal to do it.

But people aren't dogs. That bully you're advocating been physically assaulted - (s)he is a PERSON, too. How are you SOLVING THE PROBLEM with violence? The bully will still be there. (S)he might not bully *you*, but what's going to stop them from bullying someone else? Or bulking up and getting back at the person who hit them?

As has been said numerous times, violence against the bully isn't a blanket answer. Try addressing the cause and come up with a long-term solution instead of being a violent reactionary.

Part of growing up (1)

carvalhao (774969) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097860)

Dealing with adversity, frustration, rejection and so on is part of the process of growing up and the creation of psychological defense mechanisms.

By over protecting our children we are, in fact, under-preparing them to deal with an often ignored fact of life: it's HARD.

But, then again, it will help support the world thriving antidepressant industry...

Online bullying? (1)

ShaunC (203807) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097968)

If this isn't a case of a solution looking for a problem (or a politician pandering for votes), I don't know what is. There aren't even laws prohibiting real world bullying, are there? Kids get in fights all the time and here in a large metro area, unless there's a weapon involved, it's usually handled within the school. Are we really such a nation of pansies that we need laws to protect us from being ridiculed on the internet?

it's already been tried (1)

duflar (1066896) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097984)

Protecting children from online harassment? It's already been tried. In fact, I know of a version with extra "features" It not only protects children, but adults too. Don't adults deserve some protection too? It even protects the government from online harassment! It's been a few years since I've been to China, but I know the country would be different without it.

I thought it said GATES (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18098062)

Need more coffee!

I thought it said GATES Seeks Laws to Curb Online Bullying.

Then he'd have to shut up permanently.

The myth will not die apparently (2, Insightful)

Morinaga (857587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098122)

Here in Colorado there are still strict rules against wearing trenchcoats and numerous suspensions, counciling sessions etc... to deal with bullying. All of this is of course the Columbine effect. A thred like this one can't exist for long with out the mention of the tragedy. Bullying is not what drove Harris and Klebold to mass murder, it's a myth that simply will not die. http://www.salon.com/news/feature/1999/09/23/colum bine/print.html [salon.com]

Bullies are part of growing up. It's part of growing up for the persons being bullied and the bullies themselves. It is not evil behavior that must be erradicated because another Columbine could happen again. It's natural behavior that occurs in all human cultures and many in the animal kingdom as well. Those that are the victims of bullies have great lessons to learn that will serve them well later in life. Those that are bullies also have lessons to learn. I can't imagine anything more destructive that taking kids in their learning years and secluding them from this natural behavior. Sometimes kids need to touch a hot stove to understand cause and effect.

Trivial solution... (2, Insightful)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098148)

Punish ACTUAL bullying, at its source: Poor parenting.

Cyber-bullying is only a problem because it leads to verbal bullying and that leads to physical bullying. I could not care less about kids calling me names when I was in school. That sort of "bullying" means nothing. What I had a problem with was being pushed, tripped, pinched, punched, and kicked. When one kid assaults another kid, $500 fine to their parents. I guarantee that will solve the problem damn quick.

Re:Trivial solution... (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098584)

I doubt it. You obviously haven't run into the parents that believe that (a) children should resolve their own problems and (b) their physically agressive child is showing that he is "a man" or is simply showing natural leadership qualities. Fines aren't going to help the parent's attitude in this case.

More than likely, the $500 fine will result in the parents physically taking it out on the child, who will then have even more motivation to beat on someone else. More secretively, without witnessess.

Boo hoo (1)

vladsinger (1049918) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098150)

Oh, Nanny (state). Protect me from those mean mean mean meanmean people on the internets.

It's only a matter of time... (1)

canipeal (1063334) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098152)

It's only a matter of time before bullys counter this legislation by coming out with Bullyanonymizer.com

All this about bullies being protected... (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098222)

The best defense is self defense, and only used in physical altercations... if you can't fight off a bully using words with words of your own, you probably shouldn't resort to hitting because you're the one instigating the assault in that case.

Can anyone point me to a real example where a bullying victim became the one punished for standing up for themselves where it was legislated? At the school I went to, both parties got equally busted, so if someone picked a fight with you, you may as well practically kill them because you'll be seeing them again after school in detention, and if you dont take them down in the first fight, they'll come back at you after school.

That's a moronic question. (1)

Zero_DgZ (1047348) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098248)

Q: "How much authority does a school have to monitor, regulate and punish activities occurring inside a student's home?"
A: ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NONE!

Next question.

re: re (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18098450)

Oh noes! people making fun of you on the internets! serious business for sure.

People who are incapable of feeling the waters before diving in should not expect help getting out of the water. I'm a moderator on a very large message board, and our "off topic" forum sees a ton of traffic. we get people coming from all over trying to jump in and become "one of the crowd" without first seeing what the crowd is like. It's like going to a bar and expecting to be cool with the regulars on the first visit. It's a culture you're trying to dive into, and if your first posts come off like you think you are "all that" and should be treated as such... things will NOT go well. a lot of forum dwellers make it a game to see how mean they can be without actually breaking forum rules. It's the internet. It's not a friendly place. Take a few days to get to know the people you're trying to mesh with before opening your mouth.

Bullying Nerds is a Bad Idea (TM) (1)

CompMD (522020) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098508)

Back in high school I had a large gas-powered RC helicopter and a couple estes rockets mounted on pylons. Nobody EVER screwed with me.

Cyberbullying is avoidable (1)

paladinwannabe2 (889776) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098540)

Online it's easy to avoid people. If people are harrassing you, block them and ignore them. Flag them as Spam if it's email. If they can't get a response from you they will leave you alone. Worst case scenario you change your email address / screen name. It can be a hassle, but if you play it smart they'll get bored and leave you alone.

Settle this the old fashioned way... (1)

Prototerm (762512) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098630)

...in the schoolyard with several of your best mates at your side.

Geez, no wonder the world's the way it is today. Everybody's running home to mommy instead of learning to deal with it like adults: gang up on the bleeding sod and beat the living crap out of him!

Bunch of sissies, the lot of ya.

Anonymity. Key to Internet Social Problems. (1)

sloth jr (88200) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098660)

I know the place anonymity has on the Internet - but I believe the single greatest source of malfeasance comes from anonymity, both in legitimate forums and in numerous scams. Maybe some rethinking of the way the Internet works is in order. A difficult problem - how to link any particular network transaction (and I'm specifically not thinking of TCP/IP here, because I'm not entirely convinced it can be retooled to represent "packet from Mr. Smith", rather than "packet from device") to an identity.
By keeping anonymity, the only "solution" to this issue would be draconian laws that invariably would be abused to punish the victims as much as the tormentors (potential for innocent bystander carnage is large).

sloth jr

Terroristic threats are already illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18098712)

There are laws on the books to cover terroristic threats via telephone and letter. Threats via the internet, by email, blog, etc-, should be treated the same way.

Just because the delivery method is slightly different, that doe not change the intent of threats. A threat via telephone is the same threat if you IM, blog or email someone.

I can't believe the ACLU is actually spending money on this.

Well, nobody ever said the ACLU has a shred of common sense. They have good intent but unfortunately they seem to consistantly pursue the wrong things.

Of course they usually pursue matters from a liberal point rather than common sense. Such as Affirmative Action for example. Basing job placement on race is completely wrong.
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