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Editorial: Legislative action to reduce cyberbullying in WV important step

From The Herald Dispatch of Huntington:

Gains in technology have done much to improve our lives over the centuries, and the advent of the digital age has been no different. Advances have eliminated various forms of hard labor, provided more conveniences, allowed various tasks and transactions to be done much more quickly and have sped up communication.

But there can be a variety of downsides to this, particularly if the technology is misused. Take, for example, cyberbullying, which through the introduction of the internet as well as wireless communication can quickly amplify the old notion of bullying. Now, a bully can torment his or her victim much more quickly, much more often and before a much wider audience.

And it can lead to deadly results.

Yet, in some states, laws against cyberbullying are vague or non-existent, despite several high-profile cases across the country in recent years where it has resulted in suicides of teens and young adults. In West Virginia, a bill has been introduced to strengthen the state’s stance against cyberbullying against minors.

The legislation is House Bill 2655, which if passed and signed into law would define cyberbullying and establish it as a crime in the Mountain State. Essentially, it would make it unlawful for someone to intentionally use a computer or computer network to harass, intimidate or bully a minor by such online or social media means as building fake profiles or websites, posing as or imitating a minor in chat rooms or in electronic communications and posting either fake or real information that is harmful to a minor on the internet and through social media. The law applies to both minors and adults who harass and harm others.

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