2007 – Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi worked with the state’s school superintendents and resource officers to create the CyberSafety Education Program which is taught in public and private middle and high schools across the state. Students are taught of the risks of online predators, the tactics they use and how to report online crimes.
2010 – Florida passed a law requiring health education classes include information on dating abuse for students in grades 7-12. School boards are also required to adopt dating violence and abuse policies, prohibiting dating abuse and providing response procedures.
2012 – During the 2012/2013 school year, the CyberSafety Education Program’s presentation reached more than 40,000 students and more than 2,000 reported victimization.
2014 – The Florida Department of Education released its Strategic Technology Plan, 2014-2019. The plan helps identify infrastructure needs and develop school leadership for digital learning in the classroom. Other goals include improving educators’ capacity to use available technology, offering instructional lesson planning using digital resources, and bolstering student digital learning practices. School districts are required to maintain a digital system to support and assist instructors and staff in the management, assessment and monitoring of student learning.
The same year, an education data privacy bill became law. The law provided for annual notice to K-12 students and parents of their rights regarding educational records. It also provided limits on the collection and disclosure of student information, and revised procedures on collecting student social security numbers and providing student identification numbers.
2016 – The Florida State Senate passed a law allowing high school students to take computer coding classes to satisfy their foreign language requirements. Florida’s public colleges and universities are required to recognize such computer coding credits as fulfilling the language requirements.
Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Coalition
Founded in 2013, CSAPC aims to prevent child sexual abuse through its training program: Darkness to Light, Stewards of Children. Geared toward adults in Northeast Florida, the coalition wants to impart the awareness and knowledge needed to protect children.
Cyber Civil Rights Initiative
CCRI is a nonprofit serving victims of revenge porn, and advocating for technological, social and legal changes to fight online abuse. It also aims to educate the public about online abuse.
Florida Center for Instructional Technology
Established in 1982, the center works with educators to integrate technology into the curriculum. With funding from the Florida Department of Education, Office of Technology Learning & Innovation, FCIT provides instructional resources for Florida’s teachers and students.
Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking
This nonprofit aims to help victims of human trafficking by improving and providing outreach and services to victims throughout Florida. It provides support programs, networking, training, service delivery and referrals to victims of human trafficking.
Florida Computer Crime Center
Operating within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, this center has a statewide mission to investigate computer crimes, assist with regional investigations, train investigators, inform the public and work to prevent future crimes.
Florida Department of Education
The Florida Department of Education’s website provides information for students, educators, families and the community regarding state education, funding, grants and programs.
Florida Library Association
This organization has a program to provide resources to libraries to aid them in their efforts to educate families about child Internet safety.
Florida Office of the Attorney General
Pam Bondi, Florida’s attorney general, is working to make Florida a zero-tolerance state for human trafficking. She advocates for parental interventions online, that can make it more difficult for human traffickers to find their children. Her office offers a tip sheet as part of its awareness campaign. Bondi received a Champion for Child Safety Award from the Monique Burr Foundation for Children in 2014.
MBF Child Safety Matters
Formed out of the Monique Burr Foundation for Children, Child Safety Matters is a research-based, primary prevention program that educates students and adults with information and strategies to prevent bullying, cyberbullying, online abuse, and other forms of child exploitation and abuse.
North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
This task force was created to help law enforcement agencies enhance their investigative responses to offenders who use the Internet to sexually exploit children. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice and represents the northern 38 counties of Florida.
Office of Safe Schools
This office within the Florida Department of Education provides information on all aspects of school safety, including on the Internet. It also runs programs designed to raise awareness of specific issues such as cyberbullying.
The Office of the Attorney General of Florida has created a website which covers all aspects of online safety, and contains comprehensive information for children and parents.
This nonprofit organization works toward protecting Florida’s citizens and businesses by increasing the public’s awareness of online threats and dangers. In doing so, it reduces vulnerability to cyber-attacks and educates citizens about Internet safety. It is an initiative of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
This task force was created to help law enforcement agencies enhance their investigative responses to offenders who use the Internet to sexually exploit children. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice and has more than 30 active affiliates in the South Florida law enforcement community.
Statewide Council on Human Trafficking
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi worked with the state legislature to create the council in 2014. Its mission is to build upon state and local partnerships to combat human trafficking. The council is chaired by Bondi and includes prosecutors, law enforcement officers and legislators, as well as experts in health, education and social services.
The Florida Education Channel
Established in 2000, this satellite television channel provides professional learning products to educators. Past programs have covered topics related to Internet safety, the legal implications of the Internet, and preventing and responding to electronic aggression. The channel was built with funding from the Florida Legislature.
National Human Trafficking Resource Center: Florida State Report (2015)National Human Trafficking Resource Center
This report compiles 2014 data on human trafficking, including the number of reports made to NHTRC and demographic data on the state's trafficking victims.
Statewide Council on Human Trafficking, Annual Report 2014-2015 (2015)Florida Statewide Council on Human Trafficking
The report focuses on human trafficking and the tools needed to fight it in Florida.
Criminalizing Revenge Porn (2014)D.K. Citron, M.A. Franks
This report advocates for criminalizing revenge porn to protect against the invasion of privacy and chilling of self-expression.
When Bad Speech Does Good (2012)M.A. Franks
This paper focuses on the potential benefits of "bad speech" in reducing the impact of violent calls to action.
A Path Analysis of the Behavioral Intention of Secondary Teachers to Integrate Technology in Private Schools in Florida (2011)J.P. McCombs
This study used a survey of Florida private school teachers to measure the behavior intention of teachers to integrate technology into curricula.
The Banality of Cyber Discrimination, or, the Eternal Recurrence of September (2010)M.A. Franks
This paper argues that the banality of cyberharassment makes it an effective, dangerous form of discrimination.
Unwilling Avatars: Idealism and Discrimination in Cyberspace (2009)M.A. Franks
This paper examines the impacts of cyberharassment on women.
Sexual Harassment 2.0 (2009)M.A. Franks
This paper argues that website providers should be liable for sexual harassment that occurs on their platforms.
Florida Digital Educator Program: Professional Development for In-Service Teachers (2007)A. Barron, T. Hohlfeld, S. Hernandez
This report found that teachers felt significantly more prepared to integrate technology into the classroom after participating in the Florida Digital Educator Program.
Large-Scale Research Study on Technology in K-12 Schools (2003)A. Barron, K. Kemker, C. Harmes, K. Kalaydjian
This article highlights survey findings focused on teachers' instructructional modes related to technology integration.
This section contains details of the state’s laws as they relate to sexual offenses, children and the use of the Internet in the commission of criminal activity. Where possible, sentence details have been given, including whether an increased custodial penalty is imposed where the victim is a child.
In 2007, the Cybercrimes Against Children Act imposed increased penalties for the possession or distribution of child pornography online and created a separate penalty specifically covering those who communicate with a child online and then travel to meet that child for the specific purpose of further abusing them. The legislation also increased penalties for offenders who misrepresent their age to groom a child over the internet.
In October 2011, a bill providing a lesser-penalty alternative to sexting committed by a minor was introduced, amending the Florida Statutes. Previously, any minor in possession of an explicit photograph of another minor could face conviction for a child pornography offense, potentially becoming a registered child sex offender.
Unless otherwise specified, felonies in the state of Florida are sentenced as follows:
- Capital felony: death sentence.
- Life felony: 30 years to life imprisonment plus a fine of up to $15,000.
- First degree felony: up to 30 years or, when specifically provided by statute, life imprisonment plus a fine of up to $10,000.
- Second degree felony: maximum of fifteen years imprisonment plus a fine of up to $10,000.
- Third degree felony: maximum of five years imprisonment plus a fine of up to $5,000.
Unless otherwise specified, misdemeanors in the state of Florida are sentenced as follows:
- First degree misdemeanor: maximum of one year imprisonment plus a fine of up to $1,000.
Second degree misdemeanor: maximum of 60 days imprisonment plus a fine of up to $500.
- CS/HB 609. Bullying in the Public School System. Adds “cyberbullying” to the existing law and includes explicit language allowing schools to discipline students for their off-campus harassment that “substantially interferes with or limits the victim’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by a school or substantially disrupts the education process or orderly operation of a school.” Prohibits bullying or harassment with respect to computer-related activities.
- HB 699 S.1006.147. School Safety. “Jeffrey Johnson Stand Up for All Students Act.” Mandates a procedure for including incidents of bullying or harassment in the school’s report of data concerning school safety and discipline. The report must include each incident of bullying or harassment and the resulting consequences, including discipline and referrals. The report must include in a separate section each reported incident of bullying or harassment that does not meet the criteria of a prohibited act under this section with recommendations regarding such incidents. The Department of Education shall aggregate information contained in the reports. Procedures must also be in place to regularly report to a victim’s parents the steps being taken to protect their child. Training for students, parents, school administrators, teachers, counseling staff and volunteers on identifying, preventing and responding to bullying or harassment must be in place.
- CS/SB 538. Sexual Cyber-harassment. States that a person who willfully and maliciously sexually cyberharasses another person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree. Sexual cyber-harassment is defined as publishing a sexually explicit image of a person that contains or conveys the personal identification information of the depicted person to an Internet website without the depicted person’s consent, for no legitimate purpose, with the intent of causing substantial emotional distress to the depicted person. Punishment for the first violation of receiving or sending a text containing nudity and is harmful to minors may be either eight hours of community service or instead of community service, a $60 fine. The minor can also be ordered to participate in a training class on sexting instead of, or in addition to, the community service or fine. The second offense is a misdemeanor and a third offense is a felony. In cases where multiple images were sent, all those sent within twenty-four hours are considered a single offense. If the minor who received the images did not ask for them, reported the incident to an authority figure, and did not distribute the received image, they will not be charged with a sexting offense.
- CS/HB 133. Sexual Offenses. Known as the “43 Days Initiative Act,” this law extends the statute of limitations to eight years for reporting sexual battery offenses if the victim is 16 or older.
- Florida Statute (FS) Section 257.12. Division of Library and Information Services Authorized to Accept and Expend Federal Funds. Encourages public libraries to adopt an Internet safety program and to provide an online training resource, designed for children and adults, to teach online safety and awareness of Internet predators. By April 2010, the Division of Library and Information Services adopted rules to reward libraries where 1 percent or more of their registered borrowers have completed the online training resource.
- FS Section 775.0847. Possession or Promotion of Certain Images of Child Pornography; Reclassification. States that any violation of sections 827.071 (Sexual Performance by a Child), 847.0135 (Computer Pornography; Travelling to Meet a Minor), 847.0137 (Transmission of Pornography by Electronic Device or Equipment Prohibited), or 847.0138 (Transmission of Material Harmful to Minors to a Minor by Electronic Device or Equipment Prohibited) will be reclassified to the next higher degree if the offender possesses ten or more child pornography images and at least one image contains any of the following: a victim under the age of five, sadomasochistic abuse involving a child, sexual bestiality involving a child, sexual battery involving a child, or a movie involving a child.
- FS Section 775.21. The Florida Sexual Predators Act. States that all Sexual Predators, who committed their offense on or after October 1, 1993, are subject to mandatory community notification and registration requirements. They must register within 48 hour of release from prison or any change of address. Sexual Predators are prohibited from working with children, either for compensation or as a volunteer. The legislation also states that sexual offenders released from any sanction of the court or from the care, custody and control of the Florida Department of Corrections on or after October 1, 1997, are subject to community notification at the discretion of the Chief or Sheriff of a jurisdiction.
- FS Section 784.048. Stalking. Recognizes the offense of cyberstalking and states that anyone who commits this offense is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree. Where the offense involved making a credible threat with intent to place the victim in fear of death or bodily injury, the offense is reclassified to a felony of the third degree. The section also states that anyone who commits cyberstalking after having received an injunction for sexual, date or repeat violence, is also guilty of a third degree felony. The same penalty applies where the victim of cyberstalking is a minor under the age of sixteen.
- FS Section 787.01. Kidnapping; Kidnapping of Child under Age 13, Aggravating Circumstances. This section states, among other things, that anyone who confines a child under the age of thirteen against his/her will with intent to commit any felony is guilty of a first degree felony. Where, during the course of the offense, the accused committed aggravated child abuse, sexual battery, lewd or lascivious battery, child prostitution, or child exploitation, they are guilty of a life felony.
- FS Section 787.025. Luring or Enticing a Child. States that any adult who lures or entices a child under the age of twelve into a building for unlawful purposes is guilty of a third degree felony if he/she has previously been convicted of intentionally masturbating, exposing genitals or committing another sexual act live over a computer online or Internet service, knowing that the transmission will be seen by a child under the age of sixteen.
- FS Section 794.011. Sexual Battery. Defines the offense of committing sexual battery upon a child under the age of twelve, deemed to be a capital felony if committed by an adult. Where the offender is under the age of eighteen, the offense is reclassified to a life felony. Anyone who commits sexual battery upon a person over the age of twelve, without consent, and uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon, is guilty of a life felony. The section also states that a first degree felony has been committed if anyone commits sexual battery upon a person over the age of twelve without consent in one of the following circumstances: the victim is helpless; the offender threatens to use force or retaliate; the offender administered any narcotic, anesthetic or other intoxicating substance, or has knowledge of someone else administering it; the victim is physically or mentally disabled; the offender is a law enforcement officer or correctional officer. Where none of these circumstances apply, the offense is classed as a second degree felony.
- FS Section 794.023. Sexual Battery by Multiple Perpetrators; Reclassification of Offenses. States that where sexual battery has been committed jointly by more than one person on the same victim, the offense will be reclassified as follows: a felony of the second degree is reclassified to a first degree felony, and a first degree felony is reclassified to a life felony.
- FS Section 794.05. Unlawful Sexual Activity with Certain Minors. Defines the offense of engaging in sexual activity with a minor aged 16 or 17 where the offender is 24 or older. This is a second degree felony. The victim’s prior sexual conduct is not a relevant issue in prosecution. If such an offense directly results in the victim giving birth to a child, the offender must pay child support.
- FS Section 796.03. Procuring Person under Age of 18 for Prostitution. Classifies the procuration of a minor under the age of eighteen for the purposes of prostitution as a second degree felony.
- FS Section 796.045. Sex Trafficking; Penalties. States that anyone who knowingly recruits, entices, transports, provides, harbors or obtains a person, knowing that fraud, coercion or force will be used to cause the victim to engage in prostitution, is guilty of a second degree felony. Where the victim is under the age of fourteen or if the offense results in the death of the victim, the offense is reclassified to a first degree felony.
- FS Section 800.04. Lewd or Lascivious Offenses Committed Upon or in the Presence of Persons Less than 16 Years of Age. Defines the offense of lewd battery as engaging in sexual activity with a person aged twelve or above but under sixteen. The definition also includes to force, encourage or entice a person under the age of sixteen to engage in sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, prostitution or any other sexual act. The above are deemed to be a second degree felony. The section also states that anyone who touches the genitals, female breast, buttocks or clothing covering them of a person under the age of sixteen in a lewd manner is guilty of lewd molestation; where the offender is aged eighteen or above and the victim is under the age of twelve, this is deemed to be a life felony. Where the victim is under the age of twelve and the offender is under the age of eighteen, or above that age where the victim is aged twelve or above but under sixteen, the offense is reclassified to a second degree felony. Furthermore, the section defines lewd conduct as intentionally touching a person under the age of sixteen in a lascivious manner, which is a second degree felony if committed by an adult, or a third degree felony if committed by a minor under the age of eighteen years. Lewd exhibition is defined as intentionally masturbating, exposing genitals or committing another sexual act that does not involve bodily contact with the victim in the presence of a child under the age of sixteen. This is a felony of the second degree if committed by an adult, or a third degree felony if committed by a minor under the age of eighteen. Neither the victim’s past sexual activity nor consent is a defense to the crimes described in this section. Further, the perpetrator’s ignorance of the victim’s age, the victim’s misrepresentation of his/her age, or the perpetrator’s belief of the victim’s age cannot be be used as a defense.
- FS Chapter 815. Computer Crimes. Defines various computer-related crimes such as unauthorized access, data destruction, disruption of computer system services, and the dissemination of computer viruses, among others. Most crimes are classed as a third degree felony, except where human life has been endangered, which aggravates the offense to a first degree felony.
- FS 827.071. Sexual Performance by a Child; Penalties. Makes it a felony of the second degree for a child under eighteen years of age to be used in a sexual performance, even if they or their parents consent. Promoting a sexual performance by a child is also a crime, which includes producing or directing such performance; this is also a second degree felony. Anyone who possesses images depicting a sexual performance by a child with intent to promote is deemed to be a similar offense. The section further states that it is an offense to possess, control or intentionally view a photograph, computer depiction or similar presentation depicting sexual conduct by a child. This is a third degree felony.
- FS Section 836.01. Punishment for Libel. States that anyone convicted of the publication of libel is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.
- FS Section 836.04. Defamation. Defines the offense as falsely and maliciously imputing a woman’s chastity, which is a first degree misdemeanor.
- FS Section 847.011. Prohibition of Certain Acts in Connection with Obscene, Lewd, etc., Materials; Penalty. This section states, among other things, that anyone who sells, lends, gives away, distributes, transmits, shows, possesses with intent to sell, or advertises any obscene article is guilty of a first degree misdemeanor. The same applies to anyone who possesses such article. Where the person depicted is a minor under the age of eighteen, the offenses above are aggravated to a third degree felony.
- FS Section 847.012. Harmful Materials; Sale or Distribution to Minors or Using Minors in Production Prohibited; Penalty. States that it is a third degree felony to sell, rent or loan in exchange for payment to a minor any photograph, picture, film or similar audiovisual representation depicting nudity or sexual conduct, sexual excitement, sexual battery, sadomasochistic abuse or bestiality which is harmful to minors. The same applies to any printed matter depicting such image. An adult may not knowingly distribute such materials to a minor on school property, or post it on school property. Using a minor in the production of such material is also a third degree felony. Every unlawful act or transaction constitutes a separate offense and is punishable as such.
- FS Section 847.0133. Protection of Minors; Prohibition of Certain Acts in Connection with Obscenity; Penalty. States that anyone who knowingly sells, rents, loans, gives away, transmits, distributes or shows any obscene material to a minor is guilty of a felony of the third degree.
- FS 847.0135. Computer Pornography; Traveling to Meet Minor; Penalties. This section is also known as the Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act and imposes penalties for the possession or distribution of child pornography. Any person who enters into, transmits by use of a computer or knowingly compiles any personal or identifying information of a minor for the purpose of facilitating, offering or soliciting sexual conduct with any minor is guilty of a third degree felony. The section also states that it is a third degree felony to use a computer online service, bulletin board or Internet service, or any other device used for electronic data transmission or storage, to seduce, solicit, entice or lure a child to commit any illegal act described in chapter 794, 800 or 827, or otherwise engage in unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. Where the offender lied with regard to his/her age, the offense will be aggravated to a second degree felony. Each separate act is considered to be a separate offense and chargeable accordingly. The section also covers the offense of travelling to meet a minor for the purposes of sexual abuse or engaging in an illicit act described in chapter 794, 800 or 827, which is deemed to be a felony of the second degree. Furthermore, any person who intentionally masturbates, exposes genitals or commits another sexual act that does not involve bodily contact with the victim live over a computer online service, Internet service, knowing or believing that this act will be viewed by a minor under the age of sixteen, is guilty of lewd exhibition. This is a felony of the second degree if committed by an adult, or a third degree felony if committed by a minor under the age of eighteen. The section also levies penalties to Internet service providers who knowingly allow an abuser membership or access to their systems. This first degree misdemeanor carries a fine of up to $2,000.
- FS Section 847.0137. Transmission of Pornography by Electronic Device or Equipment Prohibited; Penalties. States that anyone who knew or reasonably should have known that he/she was transmitting child pornography to another person is guilty of a felony of the third degree. This section of the statute specifically excludes subscription-based services such as list servers.
- FS Section 847.0138. 847.0138. Transmission of Material Harmful to Minors to a Minor by Electronic Device or Equipment Prohibited; Penalties. States that anyone who knew or reasonably should have known that he/she was transmitting material harmful to minors to another person is guilty of a felony of the third degree. This section of the statute specifically excludes subscription-based services such as list servers.
- FS Section 847.0139. Immunity from Civil Liability for Reporting Child Pornography, Transmission of Child Pornography, or any Image, Information, or Data Harmful to Minors to a Minor in This State. This section provides immunity from civil liability to anyone who reports child pornography, the transmission of child pornography or any image or data harmful to minors, to a member of law enforcement.
- FS Section 847.0141. Sexting; Prohibited Acts; Penalties. Defines the offense of sexting as using a computer or any other device capable of electronic data transmission to transmit or distribute to another minor a photograph of any person depicting nudity which is harmful to minors. Also included in the definition is the possession of such image that was transmitted by another minor, unless the receiver did not solicit the image or video and took reasonable steps to report the image to the minor’s guardians or school/law enforcement officials, and did not distribute it to a third party. The transmission or possession of multiple photographs is considered a single offense if the items were distributed within the same 24-hour period. Any minor who commits sexting is guilty of a noncriminal violation for a first offense, punishable by eight hours of community service, a $60 fine, or participation in a cybersafety program; a second offense is deemed to be a misdemeanor of the first degree. Any subsequent offenses are classed as third degree felonies.
- FS Section 1006.147. Bullying and Harassment Prohibited. Also known as the Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act, this section requires each school district to adopt a policy prohibiting bullying and harassment, explicitly including cyberbullying. Bullying is prohibited (1) during any educational program or activity provided by a public K-12 institution; (2) during any school-related or -sponsored activity or on a school bus; (3) through the use of data or software accessed through a school computer; or (4) through the use of data or software accessed at a non-school-related location, activity or program, or through the use of an electronic device not owned by a school if the bullying substantially interferes with or limits the victim’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or opportunities offered by a school, or disrupts the educational process. However, school staff are not required to monitor any non-school-related activity, function or program. Schools have to adopt measures and procedures for reporting acts of bullying, investigate such reports and inform parents of victims. Each school district has to define punishments for bullies and those who wrongfully accuse others of bullying.