Cyberbullying, Teenagers and Civil Suits | Have you been the victim of a cyberbully? Or worse, is your child a victim of a cyberbully? #KnowYourInjuryRights. Call (619) 550-3617 to schedule your free consultation with a premier San Diego personal injury attorney.
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Cyberbullying | Defined
Cyberbullying is the use of computers, cell phones and any other electronic device to intimidate or harass through text, instant messaging, email, etc. It is a willful and usually repeated act designed to inflict some type of harm on its victims. According to bullyingstatistics.org, over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online. As of 2016, most every state had enacted anti-bullying laws however there is a variance in what is included, what is mandated and whether criminal and / or civil penalties apply.
School Cyberbullying | Fourth Amendment
Two federal circuit courts of appeal have held that cyberbully is not protected by the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment protects a person’s freedom to express their views, even those repugnant to others.
Kowalski v. Berkeley County Schools (4th Cir. 2011) 652 F.3d 565: Court held that a school could regulate off-campus speech by determining that speech originating outside of the schoolhouse gate but directed at persons in school and received by and acted on by them at school, as in fact in-school speech. In that case, because it was in-school speech, its regulation would be permissible (as well as be considered vulgar and lewd). See also Wilson v. Lee’s Summit Sch. Dist (8th Cir. 2012) 696 F.3d 771.
Restatement of (Second) of Torts Section 316
“A parent is under a duty to exercise reasonable care so to control his minor child as to prevent it from intentionally harming others or from so conducting itself as to create an unreasonable risk of bodily harm to them, if the parent (a) knows or has reason to know that he has the ability to control his child, and (b) knows of or should know of the necessity and opportunity of exercising such control.” The Restatement (Second) of Torts section 316.
- Note: Restatements are not law. They are merely suggestions on the law.
Non-Statutory Parental Liability | California Law
California law mirrors the Second Restatement and holds that parents are responsible for the harm caused by their child when it has been shown that the parents previously became aware of habits or tendencies of the child which made it likely that that child would misbehave. Reida v. Lund (1971) 18 Cal. App. 3d. 698.
Cyberbullying | Parent Responsibilities
At least one court has found that parents have an affirmative responsibility to supervise their minor children’s activities online. In Boston, et al v. Athearn (Ga. Ct. App. 2014) 326 Ga. App. 890, the court concluded that parents could be held liable for negligence for failing to take reasonable action to prevent their child’s actions (creating a fake Facebook profile) from harming another.
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Cyberbullying, Teenagers and Civil Suits
Have you or a love one been a victim of a cyberbully? Do you feel like you are entitled to injury compensation for the pain and suffering you have suffered? If your answer to both questions is yes, then it is time that you seek legal representation from a premier San Diego personal injury lawyer. Based in central San Diego County, Juan J. Ordaz Jr. and his law office, Ordaz Law, APC, is always ready to help any individual and their families suffering from an injury producing incident that should never have happened in the first place. Read More
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