S.R. NO.













Requesting the Attorney General to examine the prevalence of using short message serviceS (SMS) SUCH AS text messaging, instant messaging, and spam via cell phones to bully, stalk, harass, and otherwise threaten others.




     WHEREAS, there was an Aiea/Pearl City town meeting on February 20, 2008, to discuss cyber-bullying and cyber-threats; and


     WHEREAS, during this town meeting persons expressed concern with the emergence of cell phones as devices used to stalk, harass, and abuse others via text messaging and other SMS functions; and


     WHEREAS, electronic bullying nationwide is on the rise as more persons have cell phones with the capability of sending and receiving SMS or text messaging, instant messaging, and spam; and


     WHEREAS, cyberstalking, threatening behavior, or unwanted advances directed at another using the Internet, computer communications and other forms of online computer communications, is expanding to include cell phones as a vehicle for threats; and


     WHEREAS, a recent study conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited found that in the United States "sixty-three per cent of teenagers ages thirteen to eighteen believe that using common technological devices to threaten physical harm is a serious problem"; and


     WHEREAS, that same study further found that approximately ten per cent of these teenagers claim that they have been threatened physically via e-mail, Instant Messenger, text message, chat, or other technological means; and


     WHEREAS, a survey commissioned by NCH, a children's charity that was founded in 1869 in the United Kingdom and known for many years as the National Children's Home, found that "one in four children in the United Kingdom have been bullied or threatened through their mobile phone or computer"; and


     WHEREAS, the NCH survey indicated that mobile phones appear to be the most common medium for bullying with sixteen per cent of young people saying they had received bullying or threatening text messages, followed by seven per cent who had been harassed in internet chat rooms, and four per cent by e-mail; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-fourth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2008, that the Department of the Attorney General is requested to examine the emergence of cell phone SMS stalking and bullying in Hawaii; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of the Attorney General is further requested to:


     (1)  Collect existing information and data on the incidence rate of cell phone SMS bullying and stalking in Hawaii, especially as may be available on children and teens;


     (2)  Research and compile a list of state and national laws in existence that address this emerging problem and allow for punitive measures to be taken against the bully or stalker; and


     (3)  Provide a summary overview of trends and laws in other countries that address cell phone SMS bullying and stalking; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of the Attorney General is requested to submit a report on its findings and recommendations to the Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the Regular Session of 2009 on the results of their examination of SMS stalking and bullying in Hawaii and any recommendations for amendments or additions to Hawaii law that may be necessary to deter and punish cell phone SMS bullies and stalkers; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a certified copy of this Resolution be transmitted to the Attorney General.









Report Title: 

Electronic Communication; Bullying; Short Message Services