Free Speech and Cyber Laws

Cyberbullying has been a serious problem in this nation for a long time. Missouri has had a well known history of this with the Megan Meier case that occurred in 2006. Not long ago, a ninth grader was arrested under this law when she created a nasty website against another classmate. "She would be better off if she just died" was a comment used on there. The bully has been turned over to the juvenile system. The current law went into affect in August 2008 and has caught others under this law.

There have been many who have argued that they have free speech in this nation so that it is okay to say whatever they want and when they want. True, we have that in America and a lot of times, in the heat of the moment, people tend to say things that they normally would not say or regret saying. People verbally fight and lash out at one another when angry as that is normal. However, what about when something is posted online and these things are open to everyone around the world? Vicious lies about others that can be read by friends, family and even strangers? This is not like a verbal argument where something is said and forgotten. When something is posted online, it is there to stay unless someone removes the post. Children think that by posting these things, nobody will come across them except for their friends and those they know. They never think of the long term affects and the dangers in what this can do to another person. So, is free speech worth it?

I hear so many people say that because of free speech they can say what they want. Not just children but adults as well. I believe in free speech and yes, we all have a right to it. However, when it comes to slander, verbally hurting someone or posting something nasty online then yes, there needs to be consequences. We need to stop and think before saying things as we do not want it to affect others out there. It is important for adults to know this and for them to teach it to their children. We need to be protecting children from these kinds of things and not enabling the problem.

Thank you Missouri for staying on top of this problem. It would be a much better world if we all did watch our words and stopped verbally trying to hurt others. Maybe one day that dream will become a reality. Having laws sure does help.