How To Protect Your Child From Cyberbullying
With advances in technology, schoolyard bullies now have additional ways to intimidate and threaten your child. Cyberbullying has become an alarmingly common problem, as children spend increasing amounts of time on the internet, conversing with friends and posting on social media. This form of bullying can do more than simply hurt your child’s feelings; it can lead to identity theft, damage to their reputation, and even the opportunity for violence and the threat of personal injury. As a parent, it is important not only to be aware of how common this type of behavior is, but also what you can do to stop it.
The Effects of Cyberbullying
According to the non-profit organization Enough is Enough, which helps to promote internet safety for children and their families, cyberbullying is increasing both in the number of people being bullied as well as in the ways and methods online bullies use to threaten and harass. Instant messaging, blogging, social media postings, and pictures on sites such as Instagram can all be used to post disparaging messages and threats, and it is easy for those committing these acts to hide in anonymity by using made-up names and fake profiles and email accounts. While increasing numbers of adults are now engaging in this type of behavior, cyberbullying among young people has reached to epidemic proportions. According to the Enough is Enough website, Internet Safety 101.org, nearly half of all teens aged 13 to 17 report experiencing cyberbullying at some point over the past year. Tactics used by cyberbullies include the following:
- Posting and spreading cruel and disparaging gossip about others.
- Impersonating someone by hacking into social media or email accounts.
- Harassing others through insulting or offensive messages or making posts.
- Flaming, which refers to online fights involving hateful and inflammatory messages.
- Outing, which involves revealing intimate or embarrassing details about another which were meant to be kept private.
- Cyber threats of physical violence.
Help In Dealing With Cyber Bullies
Enough is Enough offers a cyberbullying tip sheet offering ways in which parents can help prevent or stop their children from being bullied online. Suggestions include:
- Have your child set their internet profiles to private.
- Limit their number of social media ‘friends’ and promptly delete anyone who behaves in a threatening manner.
- Refrain from over sharing personal or private information.
- Use caution when posting photos.
- Do not delete disparaging comments or threats, as they could be used to file a legal suit against the person committing the bullying.
Increasing numbers of state have enacted laws that enable those being cyber bullied to take legal actions. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the South Carolina Code of Laws offers several statutes which may be used in seeking recourse, including SC Code Ann. Section 16-17-430, which prohibits unlawful communication, and Section 16-3-1700 which covers harassment laws that may be able to be used against cyberbullies.
Get the Legal Help You Need Today
If you or someone you love has suffered emotional or physical injuries as the result of cyberbullying, contact Anastopoulo Law Firm today. Our experienced personal injury attorneys can advise you on how to hold responsible parties accountable so that you can get the compensation you deserve. With offices in Charleston and throughout South Carolina, we can help; call or contact us online today for a free case consultation.