International Association ofChiefs of Police Law Enforcement and Cyberbullying Fact Sheet Bureau of Justice Assistance U.S. Department of Justice What is cyberbullying? progress at alarming speeds. Research the Cyberbullying is “willful and repeated harm inflicted elements of the activity to see if a remedy can through use of computers, cell phones, and other be found in state criminal codes. electronic devices.”ii Harm is inflicted when an individual • Educate the community. Teach children, is harassed, humiliated, embarrassed, threatened, or parents, school officials, and others how to tormented using digital technology. Cyberbullying is not prevent and respond to cyberbullying. Invite limited to mainstream social media platforms; it also national organizations or local programs to includes using cell phones for text messages and photos, share resources and coordinate presentations or computers to transmit e-mails and instant messages. within your jurisdiction. If possible, implement an Cyberbullying is also known as electronic bullying evidence-based bullying prevention program. (e-bullying), mobile or digital bullying, and online or • Collaborate with school administrators and Internet bullying. It differs from traditional bullying in parent, teacher, and student associations. Work that victims can be bullied at any location, any time, and with them to develop clear and responsive the perpetrators can be anonymous. Also, cyberbullying policies on the use of electronic media on and messages and/or images can be distributed immediately off campus, on how students can safely reportThe rates of ownership to a wide audience. Cyberbullying is most common cyberbullying, and on what remedies areof digital devices and the among children ages 12 to 17, but it may also involve available for suspects and victims. This policyreliance on technology for adults. Adults accused of harassing children or teens are also should define the roles of school and lawdaily activities has risen in generally referred to as cyberharassers or cyberstalkers.iii enforcement officials, outline penalties forrecent years. According to Research reveals that e-communication is an integral students, and detail parental notification.the Pew Research Center’sInternet & American Life part of adolescent social life. The significance of • Train officers. Teach them how to confiscateProject, 85 percent of e-communication in the lives of children makes them devices used by suspects in the commission ofadults in the U.S. own cell targets for involvement in cyberbullying. Thirty-two cyberbullying, get access to or secure electronicphones, 58 percent own percent of online teens report experiencing some type data, and report cyberbullying; these are criticala desktop computer, 61 of online harassment. Twenty-six percent of teens have steps in building cyberbullying cases.percent have a laptop, and been harassed through their cell phones either by voice • Share information with other law enforcement18 percent have a tablet.i or text.iv Twenty-three percent of youth are bullied both agencies. Team up with departments that haveAll of these devices can be in school and online—often by the same perpetrators.v experience with cyberbullying cases, and shareused to communicate andstore data and do other information with departments in neighboringuseful things. They can How can law enforcement impact cyberbullying? jurisdictions to prevent duplication in casealso be used to commit It is important that law enforcement take a proactive processing and to educate contiguous communities.cyberbullying. approach to cyberbullying. Unfortunately, the legislation governing the use of social or mobile media i The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, “Trend Data (Adults),” 2012, accessed October 23, 2012, at http://www.pewinternet.org/ has not kept pace, thus leaving law enforcement at a Static-Pages/Trend-Data-%28Adults%29/Device-Ownership.aspx. disadvantage when encountering such cases. Here are ii Cyberbullying Research Center, “About Us,” 2010, accessed January 19, 2010, at http://cyberbullying.us/aboutus.php. a few things police can do: iii Bullying Statistics. 2010. Welcome to Bullying Statistics. Accessed January 19,International • Become familiar with laws in your state. Forty- 2010 at http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/.Association of nine states have bullying laws, 40 states have iv Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, “Teens and MobileChiefs of Police Phones,” by Amanda Lenhart, Rich Ling, Scott Campbell, and Kristen laws that address electronic harassment, and 14 Purcell, 2010, accessed September 20, 2010, at http://www.pewinternet.org/ Reports/2010/Teens-and-Mobile-Phones.aspx.1-800-THE-IACP states specifically mention cyberbullying.vi v M. L. Ybarra, M. Diener-West, and P. J. Leaf, “Examining the Overlap in Internetsocialmedia@theiacp.org • Self-educate. It is incumbent upon law Harassment and School Bullying: Implications for School Intervention,” Journalwww.IACPsocialmedia.org enforcement to learn as much and as soon as of Adolescent Health 41 (6 Suppl 1; December 2007): S42-50. vi S. Hinduja and J. Patchin, “State Cyberbullying Laws,” accessed October 23, possible because technology-related crimes 2012, at http://www.cyberbullying.us/Bullying_and_Cyberbullying_Laws.pdf.November 2012This project was supported by Grant No. 2010-BE-BX-K037 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureauof Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending,Registering, and Tracking. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.