Bullying among young people has long been an issue wherever large groups have been gathered in one place, such as in crowded neighborhoods, at schools and in fraternities. Bullying may be physical or may consist solely of words and even unspoken forms of harassment. Today's young people face new versions of peer pressure and harassment made possible by modern digital forms of interaction, including Internet-based social media and cellphones.
A Centers for Disease Control (CDC) publication describes common types of "electronic aggression: any kind of aggression perpetrated through technology-any type of harassment or bullying (teasing, telling lies, making fun of someone, making rude or mean comments, spreading rumors, or making threatening or aggressive comments) that occurs through email, a chat room, instant messaging, a website (including blogs), or text messaging."
Teenagers may claim that teasing a peer is "all in fun" or "just a joke," yet a victim of bullying or hazing always knows the difference between fun and harassment. Social media forums such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter facilitate the rapid spread of teasing among an adolescent's entire peer group. Just as jokes have a way of morphing into harassment, words on a computer monitor also have a way of triggering more physical, confrontational forms of harassment, including violence.
At Klest Injury Law Firm, we represent people who have suffered serious harm through negligence of others as well as through intentional abuse such as sexual abuse. Our law firm has made a name for itself through noteworthy settlements and verdicts on behalf of the injured. What should you do if you or your child has been targeted through cyberbullying?
- If damages are not severe, seek help through parents, a school counselor and the community.
- If damages are severe, resulting in serious harm or attempted suicide, get medical treatment and talk to an attorney.
- Lawsuits may be filed against a perpetrator, a perpetrator's parents or a school if the school failed to monitor computer use.
- Defendants in cyberbullying claims may be held responsible for consequences of defamation of character, invasion of privacy, disclosure of private information, intentional infliction of emotional distress and threats.
Were you beaten up by groups of peers who conspired to do so through Internet social media sites? Did your son or daughter attempt suicide or commit suicide after being targeted through cyberbullying? For a consultation after a serious injury or suicide triggered by cyberbullying, contact Klest Injury Law Firm and learn how we can help.