Posted by Maria Mangicaro
Bullying Prevention Advocate
Posted: Oct 01, 2013 1:15 AM EDTUpdated: Oct 01, 2013 7:05 AM EDT
LAS VEGAS — Starting Tuesday, it will be a crime to bully a child through social media or any other electronic device in Nevada.
It’s one of many laws taking effect October 1. The law targets kids who knowingly engage and bully other kids by sharing pictures or videos for the public to see. Violators could face stiff penalties.
A shocking video went viral in a matter of hours last year. The video depicted a Las Vegas boy punching another boy who was reportedly a special needs student. The video was shot on an iPad and went viral on the Internet.
State Senator Kelvin Atkinson was one of the sponsors of the new law that would make videos like this illegal.
“It has taken bullying, in my opinion, to a whole other level, a whole other level,” Atkinson said. “Kids are cruel, mean, and they don’t think of the consequences. They don’t think of the emotions of other kids with what they are inflicting upon them.”
The law states kids who post pictures or videos of other kids being bullied could face expulsion from school or even be put in juvenile detention if they do it more than once.
Ellie Smith is an outspoken advocate against bullying. She has used her talents as a singer to launch an awareness program about bullying, because she was a victim herself.
“I think that this is a punishment people deserve if they want to go around sharing these videos and committing these crimes,” Smith said.
Smith said there isn’t a total solution that will stop bullying altogether, but this new law is a start. She added tormentors don’t realize the damage they cause, especially through the protection of the Internet and a computer screen.
“I think it will definitely be a deterrent, however, bullying is as old as time, and it’s always been there, and it probably always will be,” Smith said.
This new law only applies to bullying between kids under 18.