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Cyberbullying and Law Enforcement

NCJ Number
Michele Coppola
Date Published
February 2019
2 pages
This article from the February 2019 issue of TECHBeat provides an overview of a webinar held in the fall of 2018 under the sponsorship of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in which members of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICACTF) discussed Internet safety, the effects of social media and cyberbullying on a youth's brain, and the impact of "sexting" and "sextortion" on youth.
The ICACTF was established to help state and local law enforcement agencies develop an effective response to technology-facilitated child exploitation and Internet crimes against children. An overview of the impact of cyberbullying on its victims is followed by a review of challenges faced in efforts to counter and prevent cyberbullying. A presenter notes that it is critical for communities to commit to understanding the interactions of children and youth with social media and the potential dangers this poses. It is recommended that parents, school systems, and law enforcement cooperate in designing and maintaining a collaborative effort to identify potential harms from involvement in social media and how children should be trained and guided in preventing and responding to various social media abuses. "Sexting" is one of the challenges discussed. This typically refers to the sharing of nude or semi-nude and sexually provocative photos or sexually explicit text messages via electronic devices. Another challenge discussed is "sextortion," which involves forcing someone to do something, notably perform sexual acts, by threatening to publish nude pictures of them or spread sexual information about them.