Lawmakers hear bill on criminalizing cyberbullying

Denver State Capitol Building with Mountain View

DENVER — Colorado lawmakers will begin working to make cyberbullying a crime.

Cyberbullying has increasingly become a part of modern childhood where young children have access to social media sites and near constant Internet access on smart phones.

The law, HB 1131, set to be heard in the House Education Committee will make it illegal for someone to harass a minor online if the victim feels the threat puts them in serious emotional distress or fear for their life.

The crime would be added to the state law on harassment as a class 2 misdemeanor.

The bill is sponsored by Democrat Rep. Rhonda Fields.

Highlands Ranch mother Naomi Lowell told us in November about the bullying her 13-year-old daughter received.

Messages sent to her Facebook page included threats and “awful stuff like, Go kill yourself,” Lowell said.

Lowell said she was able to work with her daughter’s school to stop the bullying.  That is often the only course available to parents whose children have been bullied.

Some district attorney’s have filled harassment charges in cases of extreme bullying. However, statutorily, the crime can be difficult to prosecute. The new Colorado law is intended to fix this.

2 comments

  • Pootey Tang

    Aren`t we getting close to first amendment issues? If I call yopu a “Poopy head” on the net it`s a crime? Obama in newsrooms with the FCC..

  • Tim LeVier

    Seems like this could be seen as some type of “prior restraint” on a constitutional right? How am I supposed to know 1) that the person I’m talking to is a minor. 2) That the person I’m talking to has a thin skin.

    The reason we’ve limited prosecutors to “Harassment” charges in the past is to differentiate “hurt feelings” and “abuse”.

    We don’t even have a “bully” law for the non-cyber world. Why would we need it online when a nasty comment can be simply deleted and the person blocked with the flick of a finger?

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