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The well known case of a Missouri mother who was accused of causing a teenage girl to suicide has led to additional calls for cyberbullying laws

A mother accused of driving a 13-year-old neighborhood girl to suicide was acquitted of three misdemeanor counts during a high-profile case that has attracted international media attention.

Lori Drew is accused of creating a MySpace account and posing as a fictitious teenage boy "Josh Evans," then sending flirtatious MySpace messages to 13-year-old Megan Meier, a neighborhood girl her daughter reportedly had a run-in with earlier.  Still posing as the teenage boy, Drew dumped Megan and left a message saying the world wouldn't miss her.

Lori Drew, who was found guilty in November 2008, faced up to three years in prison stemming from the three misdemeanor charges under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.  The case was closely scrutinized by legal experts who noted it was the first time someone was charged under the act related to crimes committed through social networking web sites.

All of this talk about this specific case has caused an outcry among supporters who think the country should have stricter cyberbullying laws.  The state of Missouri, due to the Drew case, created a cyberbullying law now criminalizing online harassment carried out via PC or other electronic devices.

“This decision is disappointing, but is a direct example of why we need laws to address new crimes like cyberbullying,” Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif) said in a statement regarding the Drew case.  Sanchez was one of the lawmakers who recently proposed the Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act, which would essentially criminalize online cyberbullying.

Even though I think there should be some type of law to help protect people, especially children and teenagers, from cyberbullying, it's something that would need to be closely watched.  It's possible any legislation related to cyberbullying would be too broad, which could potentially accuse innocent people of being online cyber bullies.

Are you in favor of a law that would aim to reduce cyberbullying?



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RE: Not another law
By Moishe on 7/8/2009 12:47:49 PM , Rating: 2
I agree completely. We don't need laws to legislate common sense and common decency. Those things cannot be faked. All the laws do it create more bureaucracy and BS to wade through.

We have laws that can be used but that are not enforced. Adding another one to the books won't help anything. We all lose a little more freedom and nobody is actually helped.

The computer use of minors needs to be closely monitored by their guardians and kids should be taught to be highly skeptical of the identity or (and the things portrayed by) people online. That and kids need to be taught some basic character and be allowed/encouraged to grow up earlier. As it is, we end up with a lot of "adults" who are still very much overly sensitive babies. These kinds of adults are far more likely to pull a stupid childish prank like this lady did.


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