The internet is an amazing part of our lives; however, it can also be the medium for criminal and other negative activity, including cyberbullying. With an ever-increasing number of school-aged children and teens online, a criminal defense attorney notes that parents should watch out for harassment from other kids. Cyberbullying, the online version of real life coercion, is even more prevalent because teens communicate so much behind computer screens – and it can be much more devastating.
What Is Cyberbullying?
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for teens to be teased or harassed by their peers online in the form of negative interaction via text, instant messenger, and social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Such harassment can escalate to threats, exclusion, ridicule, and other forms of intimidation or embarrassment, with a huge negative affect on those who are targeted. Degrading websites regarding teens who are bullied, hacked email, and impersonation on social accounts are commonly used to destroy a teen’s credibility among friends.
Cyberbullying has become a significant problem over the past few years, resulting in some very serious situations. An attorney who handles the criminal defense of teenagers accused of such acts advise parents to look for evidence that their child is being bullied and what to do if is happening to their son or daughter.
Facts About Cyberbullying
Following are some important facts to know about cyberbullying:
The Attacker Is Known – In most cases, the teen being bullied knows who is committing such acts. It is the suggestion of a criminal defense attorney that in most cases the teens are schoolmates, although it can also happen with teens who have met socially online as well.
Teens Are Targets – Bullying is most prevalent during the teenage years, that critical time for developing self-esteem. Any kind of harassment during this time can be particularly detrimental to a teenager’s self esteem, especially in an online form that can be harsh and involve many people.
Long-Lasting Effects – Cyberbullying is expansive and damaging. Because people say and do things on the internet they would never say or do face-to-face, harassment can quickly get very ugly. Teens gang up on each other and spread secrets, lies, and embarrassing information rapidly to untold numbers of people through email and other online methods.
Inescapable Impact – Escaping cyberbullying may seem impossible as it often occurs in popular online places where teens go to be social and share interests. Any time screen names, phone numbers, and user names are known, it is difficult to prevent or stop this from happening.
What Can Parents Do?
It is critical that parents talk to their children about cyberbullying because of its prevalence in society now and the unfortunate consequences that can result from such activity. Parents need to make it clear to their teenagers that monitoring such internet activity is to protect them from things such as cyberbullying and not to spy on them. Temporary unhappiness with parental control is minor compared to the devastating effect that cyberbullying could otherwise inflict on a child.
Parents must stay current on internet trends, know how their teens use such technology, and learn how internet privacy works. Children can be taught at an early age about good online behavior, privacy practices, and what to do if cyberbullying should happen to them. Always log out of accounts when getting offline and don’t share passwords with friends.
A criminal defense attorney suggests that every parent discuss cyberbullying with their teens and keep communication lines open. If a problem has developed where intervention may be necessary, it is wise to consult an attorney who can advise what steps to take to protect their child from cyberbullying.
Reynaldo G. Garza, III
680 E. St Charles, Suite 600
Brownsville TX 78520