Tyler Clementi Internet Safety Conference Tackles Cyber Harassment

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Lawmakers, students and teachers are tackling cyber harassment this weekend at the first-ever Tyler Clementi Internet Safety Conference.

“It has been a long struggle and battle for me through my grief,” said Jane Clementi, who lost her son, Tyler, five years ago.

At age 18, Tyler committed suicide on the George Washington Bridge after his roommate at Rutgers University filmed a romantic encounter between Clementi and another man and then posted it on the Internet.

“We really don’t want anyone to face the shame or pain or humiliation that Tyler faced,” Clementi said.

Tyler’s story prompted policy makers and lawyers from across the country to hold the conference at New York Law School in an effort to try “to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening to anyone else,” Clementi said.

They’re focused on cyber harassment and coming up with ideas to strengthen laws that protect victims.

“There are victims of cyberbullying and cyber harassment and the law right now has not caught up to their plight,” said Frank Pasquale, a law professor at the University of Maryland.

A top conversation at the conference is making it easier for victims to get harmful material about them off the Internet, Pasquale said.

“Corporations that run major platforms have to adjust the way they deal with complaints and they need to deal with them much more rapidly and much faster,” Pasquale said.

Pasquale said 40 percent of people report getting harassed at least once online, many of them children. So another goal is getting the schools to tackle the issue even further.

“Create digital safety curricula in middle schools and upper elementary schools as well as high schools that will teach students how to protect themselves online and will also help parents recognize when they see harassment on their students’ pages,” said Ari Waldman, associate professor of Law New York Law School.

The hope is to put an end to these crimes and save lives.

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