Cyberbullying has become a serious problem recently and now in Michigan it will be a crime punishable by jail time.

The reports of kids hurting themselves or others over something that happened online are definitely increasing. There have even been tragedies in Michigan that have lead to someone taking their own life.

The problem that parents and lawmakers are faced with is how to deal with cyberbullying. This is a problem that most adults never had to deal with as a kid. Michigan lawmakers have stepped in to ensure that if a person is caught cyberbullying, there are some serious consequences.

Former Governor Snyder signed Public Act 457 of 2018 into law before leaving office, and it will officially take effect in March. will take effect in March.

The law states:

Cyberbullying is a crime punishable by 93 days in jail and a $500 fine. A "pattern of repeated harassment" is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Meanwhile, cyberbullying that is found to cause a victim’s death is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Will this law make a big difference? I don't think so.

I think the law is a good thing, and will help families get some sort of justice after a cyberbullying incident, but it's not going to stop cyberbullying.

I honestly don't know if anything will be able to stop cyberbullying, but there are a ton of things parents can do to curb the harmful effects.

The main thing is making sure that your child feels safe talking to you about what's going on in their life. The more involved you are as a parent, the more likely you will know when something is wrong. Sometimes a kid can be to embarrassed to talk about what is going on. Parents need to do whatever they can to open up lines of communication.

If you do discover there is a problem, there is a very positive side to cyberbullying . . . it's easy to turn off. The best thing someone can do is report the situation, then unplug from it completely. Trolls that actually attack someone online are looking for a response or reaction. The lack of interest will diffuse most situations, and keep future problems from escalating.