LAFAYETTE, Louisiana. According to the Atlantic, an estimated 850,000 adults (primarily women) are stalked online or suffer some form of electronic violence. As many as 40 percent of adults have been harassed online, with young women being the primary targets. This violence is no accident, yet harassers may begin to face injury lawsuits as state and federal laws catch up with the internet age.
For instance, the Texas Senate recently passed a bill to make cyberbullying a crime. According to the Dallas Morning News, the bill would criminalize cyberbullying and give parents and schools more reach when it comes to preventing harassment online. The bill also gives parents the right to sue the perpetrator’s parents, if the parents could have prevented the bullying, but did nothing to intervene. The tougher new laws come in the wake of teen suicides. According to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is the second leading cause of teen deaths. In Texas, parents whose children have killed themselves due to cyberbullying are fighting back—with lawsuits and personal injury claims.
38% percent of women who have faced online harassment have found the harassment extremely upsetting—and this is just considering the impact on adults. Children and teens may not always have the emotional resources to handle the stress of online harassment. Teens and children who face cyberbullying may require counseling or therapy, which can cost as much as $200 an hour for the best services. Yet, for many families, the cost is not a concern when their children’s lives are on the line.
With more laws being put in place to hold cyberbullies accountable, parents may have more avenues to seek a recovery for their children’s rehabilitation and care following online harassment. Laborde Earles Law Firm are personal injury attorneys in Lafayette, Louisiana who take seriously cases where children’s wellbeing has been affected by the negligence of other parents or the school system.
Online harassment can take many forms. In some cases, nude or partially nude photos sent in confidence are later published or shared in public forums. In other instances, children make harassing comments online on social media. Statements made about other children can be libelous in some cases.
And, when schools fail to make interventions because harassment takes place outside of school, parents may be the ones held accountable. According to Fox News, lawsuits against parents are increasing in harassment cases, especially when schools say they cannot intervene because the incident took place off school property and outside school hours. Many argue that laws against cyberbullying aren’t strong enough. Parents of bullied teens are taking matters into their own hands, choosing to fight back by slapping negligent parents with lawsuits. Federal courts have been wary of pursuing students outside of school, claiming that free speech laws protect children who speak off school property. Yet, libel and slander laws still hold, and making or publishing false statements about another person, whether or not you are a minor, can result in serious consequences.
The Lafayette, Louisiana accident lawyers at Laborde Earles Law Firm understand the pain and suffering that cyberbullying causes youths in America. If your child has been harmed by online harassment, contact us. You may have a case.