Perhaps you saw this article detailing how a school district in Oregon is proposing to work with the state’s Department of Transportation to suspend the driver’s license of a student who has been suspended or expelled at least twice for harassing, intimidating, or mistreating another student or employee using electronic means. Again, it is great to see that strategies for response are being increasingly proposed, but I question this policy’s effectiveness. First off, cyberbullying occurs frequently among middle-schoolers and those who still yet can’t drive – so the deterrent reach of this policy is narrow. Second, if perpetrators are no longer allowed to legally drive – what will they be doing with their time? They will be likely be online more, since they have no mobility. They will likely also be mad at the world (to some degree) since they have no mobility. They might also be even more upset or mad with their victim(s) for contributing to the crappy situation in which they find themselves. These negative emotions towards the victim might lead to more bullying or cyberbullying.
I will say that the bill they passed last year (HB2637) requiring school districts to ban and formally respond to cyberbullying – is well-conceived.
I agree with the punishment, and with some of your statements. Teenagers are cyberbullying for the same reasons many of them used to graffiti walls, throw rocks at windows, egg houses and so on. THe majority of it takes place caused by boredom. If a teen is bored, and has no way to get out they will act differently especially if there is no immediate consequence.
FOr instance, if I tell someone something hateful, or threaten someone face to face immediately something will happen. I risk possibly getting into trouble right there and then. But, if I do it online the person won't see it for a while, and possibly they won't do anything about it for a while leaving consequences for the action up to chance in the eyes of the perpatrator.