Bills About Internet Bullying
An article in the Post-Dispatch summarizes the various proposals on cyber-bullying that the Missouri and Illinois legislatures are considering. Like all the other proposals I’ve seen on this issue, these would be difficult to enforce and probably wouldn’t have prevented the Megan Meier tragedy had they been law in 2006. Here’s an example:
One lawmaker has suggested making it a felony for any adult to have electronic contact that "demonstrates a knowing disregard for the health, safety and welfare" of the child.
How can you tell whether the disregard is knowing or not? But at least that proposal just forbids bad behavior (albeit ambiguously) other ideas out there would establish new programs and requirements only tangentially related to what happened to Megan Meier. One bill would require public schools to institute policies about online bullying, never mind that Megan’s alleged harasser was an adult woman outside of the control of public school administrators.
These legislators are well-intentioned, but the most effective protection against online bullies are watchful parents.