Legal Lens: Cyberbullying explained and how to protect yourself

Legal Lens

The Brown & Crouppen Legal Lens takes a closer look at everyday legal issues and gives you a better understanding of topics that may affect you.

ST. LOUIS – Adults and children are experiencing more cyberbullying than ever before. Andrea McNairy, managing attorney at Brown & Crouppen, explains it all in this week’s Legal Lens.

What exactly is cyberbullying?

“Cyberstalking is a form of cyberbullying, and cyberbullying is part of a growing crime that includes everything, slander, defamation, and false accusation using internet means,” McNairy said. 

Are there Missouri statutes for cyberstalking?

“Well, most states have been slow to catch up with technology. In Missouri, we currently have a cyberstalking statute, which defines stalking as a pattern of conduct composed of two or more situations that have no legitimate purpose, including unwanted communication and unwanted contact. Then we have anti-harassment statuses that are basically for people who feel threatened for their life. But recently, as of August 28th, there have been changes to statutes regarding protective orders,” she said.

Could it expand in another area as well?

“It could definitely expand, the new act widens the definition of stalking to include acts that are direct, indirect or through a third party. With cyber staling what you see is just monitoring the sending of online profiles of pictures to third parties. So this act covers this new form of cyberstalking,” McNairy said.

What should someone do if they feel like they have been a victim of cyberstalking?

“If you feel you are a victim, you can file an order of protection and those forms are online in Missouri on the court’s website, and court clerks can actually help you and make sure you fill out proper paperwork.”   

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