Cyberbullying: A Crime

Claire Pfutzenreuter, Guest Writer

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  “Why are you still alive? You’re ugly. Can u die please?”—Text message received by 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick from her classmate before jumping from a tower at an abandoned cement factory near her home.
  Cyberbullying is a severe problem within society today, and situations like Rebecca’s are more common than not. This is why I recommend that Minnesota adopts a policy very similar to the policy implemented in California. California Penal Code, Chapter 2, number 653, states that “Every person who, with intent to place another person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or others with by means of an electronic communication device, without consent, and for the purpose of imminently causing that other person unwanted physical harm, which would be likely to incite or produce that unlawful action, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in a county jail, by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.” From my personal research I have found that the social benefits include reduction in anxiety and depression, and an increase in future wealth. These benefits are certain to outweigh any economic costs, such as implementation, associated with this policy recommendation.
  I urge you to do everything in your power to help me criminalize the action of cyberbullying. We all know someone who has been severely impacted by the traumatizing effects of being a bully victim. If you are willing to help me make this proposal a reality, write a message as to why you believe cyberbullying should be criminalized to our representative of the Minnesota Senate, Paul Anderson. You can message him through the Minnesota Legislature webpage or contact him directly at 651-296-9261.

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