Cyber-bullying minors is crime in Florida

Comments that people post on social media sites cannot only cost them their jobs, admission to college, or a promising relationship, but can even cross the boundaries from untasteful to criminal.  Cyber bullying, defined as tormenting, threatening, harassing, or embarrassing another young person using the internet or other technologies, is quickly becoming a problem among young people.  One study estimates that nearly 43{7b0f9a613a6857e14562fa0a1b26cd067b995d91d673512a1ec838e971e7f3c9} of kids have been bullied online and over 80{7b0f9a613a6857e14562fa0a1b26cd067b995d91d673512a1ec838e971e7f3c9} of teens use a cell phone regularly, which makes it the most common medium for cyber bullying.

Florida Statue § 784.048 makes it a crime, a misdemeanor of the first degree, for a person to willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follow, harass, or cyber-stalk another person, and a felony of the third degree for a person to willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follow, harass, or cyber-stalk a child under 16 years of age.

Recently, two minor girls were arrested in Polk County after a twelve-year-old girl took her own life after enduring months of online cyber bullying.  Subsequently, a fifteen-year-old St. Petersburg High School girl was also arrested after allegedly sending hundreds of threatening text and computer messages to other teen girls, even telling one to commit suicide so that she didn’t have to murder her.