Coming Together to Diminish Cyberbullying

New York State Senate Roundtable on Cyberbullying

On Thursday, February 11, 2021, New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky hosted a New York State Senate Roundtable on Cyberbullying with students, educators, guidance counselors, child welfare advocates, crisis counselors, cyberbullying experts, law enforcement, an assistant district attorney, and thought-leaders.

Panelists shared information and suggestions from variety of viewpoints, but they all had at least one thing in common — they believe it’s imperative we address cyberbullying and its impact on youth.

Since electronic messaging is one of the key ways teens and tweens build and maintain relationships today, the same efforts made to ensure safe playgrounds and communities need to be extended to ensure safe digital spaces and online experiences.

According to a Pew Research Center study, 59% of U.S. teens have experienced cyberbullying or at least one type of abusive online behavior, from physical threats to name calling, from having false rumors spread about them to having explicit images of them shared without their consent and more.

Even more alarming, more teen suicides are also now attributed in some way to cyberbullying; youth who are targets of cyberbullying are more than twice as likely to self-harm and enact suicidal behavior, according to a study by Swansea University. The research also indicates perpetrators also are at higher risk of experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Sponsored by Senator Kaminsky, New York State Senate Bill S623 will create a task force to explore cyberbullying and measures to address it. It also has been sponsored (Bill A2206) by Assemblymember Didi Barrett, and cosponsored by Harry B. Bronson, Carmen De La Rosa, Jeffrey Dinowitz, Deborah Glick, Richard Gottfried, Charles Lavine, Steven Otis, Dan Quart, Karines Reyes, Robert J. Rodriguez, Rebecca Seawright, Jo Anne Simon, and David Weprin.

This bill is a step in the right direction to help New York break the cycle of cyberbullying and give our youth the safe, positive digital spaces they need to thrive today.