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What is Cyberbullying?

Wikipedia defines Cyberbullying as “ the use of information technology to repeatedly harm or harass other people in a deliberate manner. According to U.S. Legal Definitions, “Cyber-bullying could be limited to posting rumors or gossips about a person in the internet bringing about hatred in other’s minds; or it may go to the extent of personally identifying victims and publishing materials severely defaming and humiliating them.”

The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center estimates that nearly 30 percent of American youth are either a bully or a target of bullying. However, bullying is no longer a problem that is isolated to the playgrounds, hallways and lunch rooms of schools. Instead, advances in technology have now extended harassment to cell phones, social media websites and other online avenues that are contributing to an alarming number of Cyberbullying cases leading to suicide.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people with approximately 4,400 deaths every year. The CDC estimates that there are at least 100 suicide attempts for every suicide among young people. More than 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide and nearly 7 percent have attempted, that is why you will sadly read about cyberbullying cases in the media now more than ever.

Click here to contact us to schedule a free consultation to see if you have a case.

At Hudson & Castle, we approach each case ethically, honorably, and skillfully, beginning with a free consultation, continuing with the convenience of flexible appointments, and finally, charging you nothing unless we win or settle. We also handle cases on behalf of our clients who are Delaware residents but have been injured in nearby Pennsylvania. Please call Hudson & Castle at 302-428-8800 (Monday-Friday, 8:30am- 5:00pm, ET) or contact us, and we will get back to you shortly to discuss your case.  

Wandering Off Hudson & Castle

Cyber Bullying Stories: The Ryan Halligan Case (1989 – 2003)

The Cyberbullying Story:  The website operated by Ryan’s parents, John and Kelly Halligan, states that early concerns about Ryan’s speech, language and motor skills development led to him receiving special education services from preschool through the fourth grade. Ryan’s academic and physical struggles made him the regular target of a particular bully at school between the fifth and seventh grade. In February 2003, a fight between Ryan and the bully not only ended the harassment at school, but led to a supposed friendship.

However, after Ryan shared an embarrassing personal story, the newly found friend returned to being a bully and used the information to start a rumor that Ryan was gay. The taunting continued into the summer of 2003, although Ryan thought that he had struck a friendship with a pretty, popular girl through AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). Instead, he later learned that the girl and her friends thought it would be funny to make Ryan think the girl liked him and use it to have him share more personally embarrassing material—which was copied and pasted into AIM exchanges with her friends. On October 7, 2003, Ryan hanged himself in the family bathroom. After his son’s death, John discovered a folder filled with IM exchanges throughout that summer that made him realize “that technology was being utilized as weapons far more effective and reaching [than] the simple ones we had as kids.”

Aftermath: There were no criminal charges filed following Ryan’s death because no criminal law applied to the circumstances. Seven months after Ryan’s death, Vermont’s Bully Prevention Law (ACT 117) was signed into law by Governor Jim Douglas. John Halligan also authored Vermont’s Suicide Prevention Law (ACT 114), which passed unchanged in April 2006.

Click here to contact us to schedule a free consultation to see if you have a case.

At Hudson & Castle, we approach each case ethically, honorably, and skillfully, beginning with a free consultation, continuing with the convenience of flexible appointments, and finally, charging you nothing unless we win or settle. We also handle cases on behalf of our clients who are Delaware residents but have been injured in nearby Pennsylvania. Please call Hudson & Castle at 302-428-8800 (Monday-Friday, 8:30am- 5:00pm, ET) or contact us, and we will get back to you shortly to discuss your case.