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Studying ways to prevent cyberbullying in King County

Summary

County Council approves effort to ensure online safety of King County residents

Story

The Metropolitan King County today gave its unanimous approval to a motion urging the King County Sheriff to study ways to protect the public from an emerging trend in our growing electronic society: cyberbullying.

“I am very pleased the County Council has acted on this motion to study the issue of cyberbullying and cyber predators in King County,” said Reagan Dunn, the sponsor of the motion. “It is critically important the County is prepared and has a plan in place to deal with this growing issue. This study will ensure the relevant authorities have a full understanding of the issue so we can better protect the residents of the county.”

“The internet is now linked to all types of criminal enterprise, including gang use for human trafficking,” said King County Sheriff Steve Strachan. “Predators and bullies are a threat to young and old. We need to take a look at what that means today in King County.”

The use of information and communications technologies to support deliberate, repeated and hostile behavior by and individual or group, that is intended to harm others, is considered to be cyberbullying. There is also the growing awareness of “cyber predators,” individuals using technology to hunt for potential victims to take advantage of sexually, emotionally, psychologically or financially. With the growth of social media, both cyberbullying and cyber predators are becoming a source of concern for law enforcement.

The online safety of residents of King County is part of the county’s Strategic Plan. One of the Justice and Safety priorities is keeping people safe in their homes and communities. The adopted motion advances that objective by asking King County Sheriff’s Office for a study of the impact of cyberbullying in King County and transmit a report on cyberbullying in unincorporated King County.

The report will include the annual number and status of investigations that are associated with cyberbullying in unincorporated King County and compare those numbers to national trends. It will also include the sheriff's approach toward the investigation and prevention of cyberbullying. The motion directs the sheriff to investigate if additional resources for training should be made available to support investigations of cyberbullying in unincorporated King County.


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