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State Cyberstalking, Cyberharassment and Cyberbullying Laws

Overview | State Statutes

Last update: January 26, 2011
PLEASE NOTE: The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) serves state legislators and their staff. This site provides comparative information only and should not be construed as legal advice. NCSL cannot provide assistance with individual cases.
Overview

Many states have enacted "cyberstalking" or "cyberharassment" laws or have laws that explicitly include electronic forms of communication within more traditional stalking or harassment laws. In addition, recent concerns about protecting minors from online bullying or harassment have led states to enact "cyberbullying" laws. This chart identifies only state laws that include specific references to electronic communication. However, other state laws may still apply to those who harass, threaten or bully others online, although specific language may make the laws easier to enforce. This chart classifies the various state laws addressing these three different types of online behaviors, as described below.
Cyberstalking. Cyberstalking is the use of the Internet, email or other electronic communications to stalk, and generally refers to a pattern of threatening or malicious behaviors. Cyberstalking may be considered the most dangerous of the three types of Internet harassment, based on a posing credible threat of harm. Sanctions range from misdemeanors to felonies.

Cyberharassment. Cyberharassment differs from cyberstalking in that it is generally defined as not involving a credible threat. Cyberharassment usually pertains to threatening or harassing email messages, instant messages, or to blog entries or websites dedicated solely to tormenting an individual. Some states approach cyberharrassment by including language addressing electronic communications in general harassment statutes, while others have created stand-alone cyberharassment statutes.

Cyberbullying. Cyberbullying and cyberharassment are sometimes used interchangeably, but for the purposes of this chart, cyberbullying is used for electronic harassment or bullying among minors within a school context. Recent cyberbullying legislation reflects a trend of makaing school districts the policy enforcers of such misconduct. As a result, statutes establish the infrastructure for schools to handle this issue by amending existing school anti-bullying policies to include cyberbullying or electronic harassment among school age children. The majority of these state laws establish sanctions for all forms of cyberbullying on school property, school busses and official school functions. However, some have also extended sanctions to include cyberbullying activities that originate off-campus, believing that activities off-campus can have a chilling and disruptive effect on children's learning environment. The sanctions for cyberbullying range from school/parent interventions to misdemeanors and felonies with detention, suspension, and expulsion in between. Some of these laws promote Internet safety education or curricula that covers cyberbullying.
See also: Additional NCSL cyberbullying resources, state laws related to electronic solicitation or luring of children, Internet filtering laws--schools and libraries, and NCSL LegisBrief: Protecting Children Online.

State/Territory

Cyberstalking

Cyberharassment

Cyberbullying

Alabama

Ala. Code § 13A-11-8
Ala. Code § 16-28B-3(2)
Alaska
Alaska Stat. §§ 11.41.260, 11.41.270

Arizona

Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-2921
Ariz. Rev. Stat. §
8-309
Arkansas
Ark. Code § 5-41-108
Ark. Code § 5-41-108
Ark. Code §§ 5-71-217, 6-18-514
California
Cal. Civil Code § 1708.7, Cal Penal Code § 646.9
Cal. Penal Code §§ 422, 653.2, 653m Cal. Ed. Code §§ 32261, 32265, 32270, 48900
Colorado
Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 18-602, 18-9-111
Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-9-111 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-32-109.1 (2)(a)(X)
Connecticut
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-182b, 53a-183
Delaware
Del. Code tit. 11 § 1311 Del. Code tit. 14 § 4112D
Florida
Fla. Stat. § 784.048
Fla. Stat. § 784.048 Fla. Stat. § 1006.147
Georgia
Georgia Code § 16-5-90
Georgia Code § 20-2-751.4
Hawaii
Hawaii Rev. Stat. § 711-1106
Idaho Idaho Stat. §§ 18-7905, 18-7906 Idaho Stat. § 18-917A
Illinois
720 ILCS §§ 5/12-7.5, 740 ILCS 21/10
720 ILCS §§ 135/1-2, 135/1-3, 135/2 105 ILCS §§ 5/27-13.3
Indiana
Ind. Code § 35-45-2-2
Iowa
Iowa Code § 708.7 Iowa Code § 208.28
Kansas
Kan. Stat. § 21-3438
Kan. Stat. § 72-8256
Kentucky Ky. Rev. Stat. § 525.080(1)(c)
Louisiana
La. Rev. Stat. §§ 14:40.2, 14:40.3
La. Rev. Stat. §§ 14:40.2, 14:40.7, 17:416.13, Children's Code Art. 730(11)
Maine
Me. Rev. Stat. tit 17A § 210A (see 2007 Me. Laws, Ch. 685, sec. 3)
Maryland

Md. Code tit. 3 § 3-805 Md. Code, Ed. Law § 7-424, 7-424.1
Massachusetts
Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 265 § 43
Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 265 § 43A Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 71 § 370
Michigan
Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 750.411h, 750.411i
Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.411s
Minnesota
Minn. Stat. § 609.749
Minn. Stat. § 609.795 Minn. Stat. § 121A.0695
Mississippi
Miss. Code §§ 97-45-15, 97-45-17, 97-3-107
Miss. Code § 97-29-45 Miss. Code §§ 37-11-67, 37-11-69
Missouri
Mo. Rev. Stat. § 565.225
Mo. Rev. Stat. § 565.090 Mo. Rev. Stat. § 160.775
Montana
Mont. Code Ann. § 45-5-220
Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-213
Nebraska Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-2,137
Nevada
Nev. Rev. Stat. § 200.575
Nev. Rev. Stat. § 392.915
New Hampshire
N.H. Rev. Stat. § 644:4 N.H. Rev. Stat. §§ 193-F:2 et seq.
New Jersey N.J. Stat. § 2C:12-10, 2C:12-10.1 * 2010 A.B. 3466, P.L. 2010, Ch. 122,
N.J. Stat. §§ 18A:37-14, 18A:37-15.1
New Mexico
N.M. Stat. § 30-3A-3 *
New York
New York Penal Law § 240.30 New York Education Law § 814
North Carolina
N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 14-196.3
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-196(b) N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 14-458.1, 115C-407.15-17
North Dakota

N.D. Cent. Code § 12.1-17-07
Ohio
Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.211
Ohio Rev. Code §§ 2917.21(A), 2913.01(Y)
Oklahoma
Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1173
Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1172 Okla. Stat. tit. 70 § 24-100.4
Oregon
Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 163.730 to 163.732
Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.065 Or. Rev. Stat. § 339.351 et seq.
Pennsylvania
Pa. Cons. Stat. tit. § 18 2709.1
Pa. Cons. Stat. tit. 18 § 2709(a), 2709(f) 24 P.S. § 13-1303.1-A
Rhode Island
R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-52-4.2
R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-52-4.2 R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-21-26
South Carolina
S.C. Code §§ 16-3-1700(C), 16-3-1700(F)
S.C. Code §§ 16-3-1700(B), 16-3-1700(C), 16-17-430 S.C. Code §§ 59-63-110 to 59-63-150
South Dakota
S.D. Cod. Laws § 22-19A-1
S.D. Cod. Laws § 49-31-31
Tennessee
Tenn. Code § 39-17-315
Tenn. Code § 39-17-308
Texas
Tx. Penal Code § 33.07
Utah
Utah Code § 76-5-106.5
Utah Code § 76-9-201
Utah Code § 76-9-201
Vermont
Vt. Stat. tit. 13 §§ 1061, 1062, 1063
Vt. Stat. tit. 13 § 1027
Virginia
Va. Code § 18.2-60
Va. Code § 18.2-152.7:1 Va. Code § 22.1-279.6
Washington
Wash. Rev. Code §§ 9A.46.110, 9.61.260
Wash. Rev. Code §§ 9A.46.020, 10.14.020 Wash. Rev. Code § 28A.300.285
West Virginia

W. Va. Code § 61-3C-14a
Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. § 947.0125

Wyoming
Wyo. Stat. § 6-2-506
Wyo. Stat. §§ 21-4-311 to 21-4-315
Territories:

Guam X.G.C.A. tit. 9 §§ 19.69, 19.70 X.G.C.A. tit. 9 §§ 19.69, 19.70

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