Could Your Child Face Charges for Cyberbullying?
Parenting has always been difficult, but technology complicates matters even more. If your son or daughter has a smartphone, tablet, gaming system, computer or any other connected device, he or she may be able to use it to bully other kids.
A conviction for a cyberbullying offense may haunt your child for the foreseeable future, possibly derailing his or her educational and other plans. Before talking to the young one in your family about the dangers of cyberbullying, you may want to know what Illinois law has to say about it.
Illinois law criminalizes cyberstalking, which is a class 4 felony in the Land of Lincoln. If your son or daughter uses a telecommunications device to do any of the following, he or she may potentially be guilty of cyberstalking:
Cause someone to fear for his or her personal safety or the safety of others
Cause someone to experience emotional distress
Cause someone to fear future bodily harm
Your child must exercise discretion when posting to Facebook or other websites. If your son or daughter uses public websites to harass, intimidate or threaten another person, he or she may satisfy the elements of criminal cyberstalking. The same may be true if your child uses these forums to induce someone to harm someone else.
As a class 4 felony, criminal cyberstalking has serious penalties. Following a conviction, your son or daughter may face one to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
If your child is already facing criminal charges for cyberbullying or cyberstalking, mounting an aggressive defense may help him or her avoid life-changing penalties. Otherwise, you can likely keep your son or daughter out of trouble by closely monitoring his or her online activity.