Mississippi

Population

2,984,100

Population 0‑18

24.1%

Internet Users

66.2%

Home Internet Subscribers

64.8%
* Statistics provided by CIA.gov, Internet World Stats and GSMA Intellligence

2010 - A bill defining and prohibiting bullying, including cyberbullying, went into effect.

2014 - Business and Technology professional development courses, offered by the Mississippi Department of Education, were available for teachers, including classes on information technology.

2016 - The Mississippi Department of Education created a Statewide Educational Technology Guide with information ranging from administration policies, teacher policies, and parents and student information on how best to use technology.

2017- A bill enact in July 2017, HB No. 263, amended the definition of bullying to clarify that any conduct interfering with a student’s education or school operations is considered bullying. The bill also revised required provisions to be included in anti-bullying policies and required ease of access to proper reporting procedure; it also required that there be better policies surrounding suicide prevention, standardised mental health services training, and other related purposes.

Fear Stops Here

This website and awareness campaign on cyberbullying was created by State Attorney General Jim Hood and former Superintendent of Education Tom Burnham. Resources are available for students, parents and teachers, and a reporting hotline is provided.

Hope Haven Children's Services

The nonprofit supports children through community education, advocacy, forensic interviews and direct support to families. One area of focus is preventing child sexual abuse.

Mississippi Department of Education

This department is responsible for K-12 education in the state. Its Office of Technology and Strategic Services supports the implementation of technology in schools.

Mississippi Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force

The Task Force works to enhance investigative responses to offenders who use the Internet, online communication systems or other computer technologies to sexually exploit children.

Mississippi Office of Homeland Security

The state’s Office of Homeland Security provides online links and resources to assist with cyber security awareness. These links are from a variety of sources, such as online training in the public sector and multiple sites to report cyber crime.

Office of the Attorney General, State of Mississippi

The state Attorney General’s office provides cybercrime tips for parents, including the warning signs of abuse against children and teens. The office explains how parents can monitor their kids’ online activity to keep them safe. The Attorney General created an Online Safety Awareness initiative, featuring guides popular apps, sexting, cybersecurity, cell phone safety and stalking. The office’s website also has information on teen dating violence and cyberbullying.

StopBullying.gov

A national interagency effort that collects data and provides information from agencies across the nation about their definitions of what bullying and cyberbullying are, who is at risk, and how to prevent and respond to bullying. Last updated June 2017, Mississippi’s page lists current laws and regulations are lacking in transparency and monitoring, legal remedies, maintaining written records of bullying, and adequate mental health services for victims.

Learning and Educating Through Alternative Programs (LEAP): Blending Online Classes, Face-to-Face Classes and Scholarship Funds in an Effort to Recruit More Teachers in Mississippi (2010)

M. Boggan

This paper discusses the efforts of Mississippi State University placing more quality teachers in the classroom and review research on current trends and data about alternative certification programs and online programs.

Digital Divide or Digital Opportunity in the Mississippi Delta Region of the US (2001)

R.G. Lentz, M.D. Oden

This paper analyzes the extent of the digital divide in the Mississippi Delta region.

A Mississippi Videoconference Study of Distance Learning (2000)

S.B. Kimmel, M.R. Grubbs

This paper assesses videoconference as an educational technology tool.

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.

Mississippi Code (MC) § 97-3-541. Anti-Human Trafficking Act; Prohibited Conduct; Penalty. This Act states, among other things, that anyone who subjects, or who recruits, entices, harbors, transports, provides or obtains by any means, or attempts to do any of the aforementioned, a minor, with intent to engage the minor in commercial sexual activity, sexually explicit performance, or the production of sexually oriented material, is guilty of procuring sexual servitude of a minor and liable to imprisonment for five to 30 years and/or a fine of $50,000 to $500,000.

MC § 97-3-65. Statutory Rape; Enhanced Penalty for Forcible Sexual Intercourse or Statutory Rape by Administering Certain Substances. States that it is a crime for any person of at least 17 to have sexual intercourse with a child aged between 14 and 16 when they are at least 36 months older than the victim. If the offender is between 18 and 21 years old, the he/she is liable to up to five years’ imprisonment and/or a fine not to exceed $5,000. If the offender is over 21 the maximum sentence is 30 years’ imprisonment, and the offender may also be liable to a fine of up to $10,000. A person over 21 years old guilty of a second or subsequent offense may be imprisoned for up to 40 years. Also within this section, if an offender 18 or older has sexual intercourse with a child under 14 they may be sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 20 years’ imprisonment. Where the offender is aged between 13 and 18 the term of imprisonment is at the discretion of the judge.

MC § 97-3-95 to 103. Sexual Battery. Defines sexual battery as to engage in sexual penetration with a child of at least 14 but under 16 when the offender is at least 36 months older than the child. The offense also applies where the victim is a child under the age of 14, if the person is at least 24 months older than the child. This section also covers the situation where an offender engages in sexual penetration with a minor under that age of 18 over whom they are in a position of authority. The maximum sentence for this is 30 years’ imprisonment. A person guilty of a second or subsequent offense shall be imprisoned for up to 40 years. A person convicted of this crime who is between 18 and 21 years old is liable to up to five years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $5,000. If the offender is over 21 the maximum sentence is 30 years’ imprisonment, and the offender may also be liable to a fine of up to $10,000. A person over 21 years old guilty of a second or subsequent offense may be imprisoned for up to 40 years. Also within this section, if an offender 18 or older commits this crime against a child under 14, who they are at least 24 months older than, he/she may be sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 20 years’ imprisonment. Where the offender is aged between 13 and 18 the term of imprisonment is at the discretion of the judge.

MC § 97-3-107. Stalking. This section states that anyone who willfully, maliciously and repeatedly follows or harasses another person, or who makes a credible threat, with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of death or great bodily injury is guilty of the crime of stalking and may be sentenced to up to one year’s imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $1,000. An aggravated penalty of up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $3,000 applies if the offender was at the time of the offense a registered sex offender and the victim was under the age of 18.

MC § 97-5-5. Enticing Child for Concealment, Prostitution or Marriage. Imposes a penalty of up to 10 years’ imprisonment in the penitentiary; in the county jail for two to 10 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000 for anyone who maliciously, fraudulently or willfully entices away a child under the age of 14 for the purpose of prostitution.

MC § 97-5-23. Touching, Handling, Etc., Child, Mentally Defective or Incapacitated Person or Physically Helpless Person. Any person older than 18 years who, for the purpose of gratifying his or her lust, or indulging his or her depraved licentious sexual desires, shall handle, touch or rub with hands or any part of his or her body, or with any object, any child under 16 years old is guilty of a felony. An offender shall be fined between $1,000 and $5,000, and/or imprisoned for two to 15 years. Any person older than 18 years who, for the purpose of gratifying his or her lust, or indulging his or her depraved licentious sexual desires, shall handle, touch or rub with hands or any part of his or her body, or with any object, any child younger than himself/herself and under 18 years old when the person is in a position of trust or authority over the child is guilty of a felony. An offender is liable to a fine of $1,000 to $5,000, and/or imprisonment for two to 15 years. A person guilty of a second conviction under this section is liable to up to 20 years’ imprisonment.

MC § 97-5-24. Sexual Involvement of School Employee with Student; Duty to Report; Penalties for Failure to Report; Immunity from Civil Liability for Report Made in Good Faith. If any person 18 years or older who is employed by any public school district or private school in this state is accused of fondling or having any type of sexual involvement with any child under the age of 18 who is enrolled in such school, the principal of such school and the superintendent of such school district shall timely notify the district attorney with jurisdiction where the school is located of such accusation, the Mississippi Department of Education and the Department of Human Services, provided that such accusation is reported to the principal and to the school superintendent and that there is a reasonable basis to believe that such accusation is true. Any superintendent, or his designee, who fails to make a report required by this section shall be subject to the penalties provided in Section 37-11-35.

MC § 97-5-27. Dissemination of Sexually Oriented Material to Persons under 18 Years of Age; Use of Computer for Purpose of Luring or Inducing Persons under 18 Years of Age to Engage in Sexual Contact. States that anyone who intentionally and knowingly disseminates sexually oriented material to any person under 18 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and may be imprisoned for up to one year and/or fined between $500 and $5,000. A person is guilty of computer luring when he/she intentionally engages in contact with a minor under 18 with the intent to communicate sexually orientated material and in doing that they invite or induce a minor to engage in sexual intercourse, deviant sexual intercourse or sexual contact with them, or to engage in a sexual performance, obscene sexual performance or sexual conduct for his benefit. The punishment for this felony is up to three years’ imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.

MC § 97-5-29. Public Display of Sexually Oriented Materials. This section states that it is a crime for any person to intentionally and knowingly place sexually oriented materials upon public display. The offense carries a sentence of up to one year in jail and/or a fine of $500 to $5,000.

MC § 97-5-33. Exploitation of Children; Prohibitions. This section states that anyone who, by any means including the use of a computer, solicits, causes or permits a child to engage in sexually explicit conduct or its stimulation, or who depicts a child engaged in such conduct, is guilty of an offense. It is also unlawful to send, transport, transmit, ship, mail, receive or possess any such material, or to entice, seduce or coerce a child to meet with the defendant or another person for the purpose of engaging in or producing sexually explicit conduct.

MC § 97-5-35. Exploitation of Children; Penalties. Imposes a penalty of five to 40 years’ imprisonment and a fine of between $50,000 to $500,000 for anyone who exploits children as defined above. A second or subsequent offense is punishable by imprisonment for life with a minimum sentence of 20 years, and a fine of $100,000 to $1 million.

MC § 97-5-41. Carnal Knowledge of Step or Adopted Child; Carnal Knowledge of Child by Cohabitating Partner. Any person who has carnal knowledge of his or her unmarried stepchild or adopted child younger than himself/herself, who is between the ages of 14 and 18, is guilty of this offense. This crime shall be punished by imprisonment for up to 10 years. A person who has carnal knowledge of an unmarried child younger than himself/herself and between ages 14 and 18, with whose parent he or she is cohabiting or living together as husband and wife is also liable to up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

MC § 97-5-42. Protection of Children from Parents Convicted of Felony Child Sexual Abuse; Creation of Local Registry; Penalties; Standards for Visitation. Where a child’s parent is a convicted child sexual abuser, the following rules for contact and visitation apply: (a) contact between the child and the offending parent must be appropriate and pose minimal risk to the child; (b) If the child has received counseling, the child’s counselor must believe such contact is in the child’s best interest; (c) the offending parent must be successfully engaged in treatment for sex offenders or be engaged in such treatment and making progress; and (d) the offending parent’s treatment provider must believe contact with the child is appropriate and poses minimal risk to the child. If the court, in its discretion, allows visitation or contact it may impose such conditions to the visitation or contact which it finds reasonable, including supervision of contact or visitation by a neutral and independent adult with a detailed plan for supervision of any such contact or visitation.

MC § 97-5-51. Mandatory Reporting of Sex Crimes Against Minors; Definitions; Procedure; Report Contents; Forensic Samples; Penalties. Health care practitioners, clergy members, teaching or child care providers, law enforcement officers and commercial image processors are mandatory reporters of sex crimes against minors under 16 years old. Mandatory reporters must report suspected sex crimes against minors to law enforcement immediately. A person who fails to comply with this section is liable to the following punishments: (a) A person convicted of a first offense is guilty of a misdemeanor and will be fined no more than $500; (b) a person convicted of a second offense is guilty of a misdemeanor and will be fined up to $1,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 30 days; or (c) a person convicted of a third or subsequent offense is guilty of a misdemeanor and will be fined up to $5,000 and/or imprisoned for up to one year.

MC § 97-29-3. Adultery and Forinication; Between Teacher and Pupil. If any teacher and any pupil under 18 years of age of such teacher, not being married to each other, shall have sexual intercourse with each other, they shall, for every such offense, be fined no more than $ 500 each, and the teacher may be imprisoned for three to six months.

MC § 97-29-45. Obscene Electronic Communications. States that it is a criminal offense for any person to make (among other definitions) a comment by means of electronic or telecommunication, which is obscene, lewd or lascivious with the intent to abuse, threaten or harass. For a first offense the maximum sentence is six months and/or a fine of up to $500, while a second offense carries a sentence of up to one year and/or a fine of up to $1,000, and any subsequent offense will be punished with up to two years’ imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $2,000.

MC § 97-29-61. Voyeurism; Trespass by “Peeping Tom.” This section states that it is a crime to enter property to pry or peep through a window for a lewd, licentious and indecent purpose. This includes the use of a camera, video camera or mobile phone for voyeurism where the victim has a reasonable expectation of privacy. An offense against a person over the age of 21 is punishable by no more than five years’ imprisonment, while an offense against a child under 16 years old by a person over 21 years old is punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

MC § 97-29-63. Photographing or Filming Another Without Permission Where There Is Expectation of Privacy. States that anyone who, with lewd, licentious or indecent intent, secretly photographs or records the image of another person without their permission and where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy commits a crime. The maximum sentence for this is five years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $5,000 when the victim is older than 21 years old at the time of the crime. When the victim is a child under 16 and the offender is over the age of 21, the crime is punishable by a fine of $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years.

MC § 97-45-15. “Cyberstalking”; Penalties. Defines the offense as using email to threaten to inflict bodily harm to any person or his/her family, or for the purpose of blackmailing the recipient. Cyberstalking also encompasses repeatedly using electronic communication to terrify, harass or threaten another person, or to make any false statement concerning the recipient with intent to harass. The penalty for this felony is up to two years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Where the offense constitutes a violation of probation or parole, results in a credible threat to the victim, or was committed by a recidivist, an aggravated penalty of imprisonment for up to five years and/or a fine of up to $10,000 will apply.

MC § 97-45-17. Posting of Messages through Electronic Media for Purpose of Causing Injury to Any Person; Penalties. States that anyone who uses any medium of communication, including electronic communication or the Internet, to post a message without the victim’s consent for the purpose of causing injury to any person, will be liable to up to five years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

MC § 97-45-33. Online Impersonation; Penalties. A person who knowingly and without consent impersonates another actual person through or on a website, or by other electronic means, with the purpose of harming, intimidating, threatening or defrauding another person is guilty of a misdemeanor. This includes opening a social media account in someone else’s name. A violation is punishable by a fine of $250 to $1,000 and/or imprisonment for 10 days to one year.