If Online Harassment Is Harassment... Why Does It Need A Special Law?

from the questions-without-answers dept

There was a tragic story a few weeks ago that I'm sure many of you read about. It involved a teenager who committed suicide after a "boy" she had become friendly with over MySpace stopped talking to her and said he had heard bad things about her. It later came out that the "boy" never existed -- and was actually a former friend in the neighborhood and the friend's mother effectively toying with the girl. There wasn't much to say about the tragedy, though I was wondering how long it would take for people to start blaming online communities or MySpace for such things. That hasn't happened yet, but the town where this happened has now passed a law banning online harassment, with the mayor saying: "After all, harassment is harassment, regardless of the mechanism or tool." That may be true -- but if it is, why isn't anyone asking why there needs to be a separate law for online harassment, if it's already considered harassment? Yes, the situation is tragic, but why the focus on online harassment rather than harassment in general?

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Barrenwaste, 28 Nov 2007 @ 9:32pm

    Re: Civil Action

    First I would like to state that I detest most civil action suits. Having said that, yes, they can bring about a civil action against the neihbors. But doing so would be no more moraly upright than the neihbors actions. I understand the grief the family of the girl is going through, and I sympathise. That shouldn't give them the right however, to compound the grief of the neihbors nor blame them for thier daughters actions. Ok, say they do bring civil action against the neihbors. Now say that the neihbor kid, out of "shame and mortification" due to the public censor and humiliation commits suicide. Are the family members of the girl now liable for the neihbors tragedy? After all, by this thinking, thier actions brought about the suicide. No. No matter how you look at this the neihbors are not at fault and should not be found so. Bringing an action against them would be legalised revenge, not justice. This is simply, and sadly, a case of a child unable to cope with life. Think about it. Do you want your child dating and or intamately involved with a suicidal individual? No, because you don't want them to go through the pain and emotional distress this individual will bring them. In that sense, a relationship with the girl would be "bad". I am not defending the actions taken by the neihbors, but the people of the area are taking a tragedy and performing the American Two-Step with it.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.