Monday, July 15

Center Researchers Publish Study on Cyberbullying and the Digital Schoolhouse Gate in the First Amendment Studies Journal


Center scholars published an essay to (1) examine the consequences of cyberbullying, (2) analyze the patchwork of legal cases that have addressed tensions between cyberbullying and the First Amendment, and (3) offer a standard consistent with the First Amendment for addressing the most egregious forms of cyberbullying. The essay, appearing in the National Communication Association’s First Amendment Studies Journal, attends to the rising instances of cyberbullying. Digital communication technologies have altered the way schoolchildren communicate with each other and how authority figures monitor and regulate their communication relative to the schoolhouse gate. An increasing threat in digital communication technology is cyber- bullying speech: the repeated and willful enactment of aggressive communication behavior via digital communication technologies to inflict intentional harm on others. Cyberbullies lodge personal attacks about victims’ identities, attempt to persuade individuals to harm or kill themselves, and even coerce people—often minors—into performing sexual favors. Available evidence suggests that effects of cyberbullying include the following: decline in academic performance, lowered self-esteem, fear of bodily harm, self-harm, suicidal ideation, and, in rare instances, suicide. For a link to the full essay, visit