Social media has brought us closer together. But it has also torn us apart. In a world where we hide behind Facebook profiles and Twitter names, cyber violence is growing and hatred is everywhere.

As adults, we remember a time when you needed to behave in public. And this memory is there somewhere in a way limiting our social media rave. We say more online but most of us never cross the limit of good manners.

It’s different for our children, however. They don’t remember a time when you had to look someone in the eye to tell them what you think about them. That’s why cyber bullying among teenagers and children is so widespread and common.

But it is also dangerous. Children’s psychological balance is fragile and someone needs to be responsible about what their peers say online.

It turns out that the responsible ones will be the parents.

Courts ruled in favour of parents being responsible for what their children say online.

It all started in 2011 when Dustin put up a fake Facebook profile defaming his classmate Alexandria Boston (In USA). The parents were informed and the boy was suspended from school while the profile was supposed to be taken down. Recently Georgia Court of Appeals has ruled that Dustin Athearn’s parents have been negligent after not taking care of the fake profile being taken off social media.

This precedent stands to show that parents will be held liable from now on if their children’s social media activity is found defaming or incorporates hateful language or action and cyber bullying.

How is liability triggered?

There are several requirements for liability of the parents to be triggered. First of all, and most importantly, there should be proven harm from the child’s online activity. So if there is a complaint, physical or emotional damage, this is the first trigger for liability. The second one is that the parents of the person of interest are informed of that activity and they don’t take any action.

If parents are unaware of social media activity that is harmful they cannot be held liable. As soon as parents are informed about complaints though, they become responsible for solving them.

What should you do?

The only sensible thing to do is talk to your child about social media and cyberbullying.

Explain them that it is not only bad, unfriendly and harmful but can also lead to serious legal consequences like fines and even jail time.

You need to have the conversation and show them that they and you together hold the responsibility. It’s advisable to also show them examples of cyberbullying victims and legal cases that will show them that social media is neither a game nor a joke.

Social media can have serious legal consequences for you and your family so we advise you to have that talk altogether as soon as possible.

Have your kids experienced cyber bullying? How did you handle it? Please share in the comments below.

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  • I really dont know how this can work.
    I know of a situation where a friends 12 year old daughter was drying off after school swimming. She was standing there naked and another girl took a photo of her and shared it with several of the boys at the school. The parents were informed, police where called and the school involved. It sures out that as the image was shared by another child there was nothing the police could do. its not classed as child porn if a child shares the image. Thats a massive loop hole for the child porn industry to exploit in my view.


  • It is very worrying, that’s for sure.


  • This age of cyber bullying is just so sad, and the results can be devastating to the victims


  • I highly doubt the parents of a cyber bully will say they are aware of it, they are probably trolling around the net too.

    I still think SnapChat should be BANNED in Australia, most teens have moved over to there so their posts go in a matter of minutes – no copies unless a smart teen Screen Saves these messages… So very wrong!


  • Parents need to be aware of what their kids are doing on social media.


  • I agree that parents need to keep a close eye on what their children get up to on social media and to let their children know that they will step in and take appropriate action if their children’s behaviour is unacceptable. All these gadgets kids use is a privilege, not a right.


  • thats right familys are reliable


  • My son is just 8 and hasn’t experienced cyber bullying as yet. Hope he never does. Horrible stuff.


  • liable


  • it scares me how much parents get the blame for all the things kids do and say. do we honestly think when we were children that it was our parents faults when we were bullying or being bullied. I was bullied as a child so therefore must I blame the parents for it or the actual kids who did it. we need to let our children take responsibility also. Yes I agree as parents we need to monitor our children and their actions but we also need to accept that our children will make wrong choices and we need to guide them not punish us for an action of a child. we all know that as teenagers have no empathy. I recently read that all toddlers and teenagers are sociopaths because of their self-centeredness. It cant be changed. challenged but not changed. my children are only 3 and 1 and all i can do is bring them up to have empathy and love for others.


  • None of my kids own laptops/computers or mobile phones. I would prefer it kept that way until they are older and more responsible .


  • parents may be liable


  • Although my boys are small now I won’t be allowing them to use social media until they are teenagers. I think parents should protect their children from these things by not allowing them to have them in the first place. My sisters both ensure that their pre-teens aren’t allowed on social media and I think that is a great way to protect them.


  • I definitely think this is a good thing. Parents need to be aware of what their children are doing online.


  • Yes very interesting to know this! Thank you!


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