Here are 5 things to know about Act 26.
- The new law creates the offense of “cyberharassment,” which would include:
- making seriously disparaging statements about a child’s physical characteristics,
- sexual activity or
- mental or physical health
- threats to inflict harm.
- The harassment could be made electronically, either directly to the child or through social media.
- For a juvenile charged with the crime, a diversionary program, which might include an educational program on cyberharassment, would be considered first. Successful completion could lead to the juvenile’s record being expunged.
- The law makes cyberharassment of a child a third-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum $2,500 fine and/or one year in prison.
- The law could help schools, which are often expected to handle cyberbullying whether it happens on school grounds or not. “An offense under subsection (a.1) may be deemed to have been committed at the place where the child who is the subject of the communication resides.”