Pennsylvania Passes Cyberbullying Law

by Kristie Burk

On July 10th, Governor Wolf signed into law House Bill 229, which makes it a third-degree misdemeanor to cyberbully a child. The law will go into effect in September.

There are some important points in the law for educators to know:

  • Cyberbulling is defined by the law as “the intent to harass, annoy or alarm” a child through the use of electronic social media.
  • The act must be a “continuing course of conduct” that makes a “seriously disparaging statement or opinion about the child’s physical characteristics, sexuality, sexual activity or mental or physical health or condition; or threat to inflict harm.”
  • Cyberharassment of a child is a third-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to $2,500 in fines and possible jail time.

According to the website Internet Safety 10143% of teens aged 13 to 17 report that they have experienced some sort of cyberbullying in the past year. Wow.

What do you think of this new law? Do you think it will reduce cyberbullying with the threat of harsh punishment? Let us know at


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