One of the biggest struggles for young people growing up in our digital world is that with the rise of social media and its importance in their lives, many bullies have turned to use the internet as a new way to abuse their peers. This has led to a crisis among youths where they face an onslaught of online hate and bullying that has terrible impacts on their lives with increases in mental health issues and suicide rates.
Cyberbullying is fundamentally a form of harassment and defamation, and while the law provides some protections against this
What is being done to protect children from online harassment and cyberbullying?
To combat this, Texas has adopted a set of cyberbullying laws and regulations for schools and educators to apply. Texas passed a series of laws in 2017 designed to encourage local school districts to address the problem of cyberbullying in schools. These rules require schools to adopt policies for staff and educators to learn about cyberbullying, as well as prevention strategies for how they can address situations between students.
Schools are empowered to address cyberbullying that takes place not only in school but also outside of school property and operating hours.
While these rules do help to empower schools to take action and address cyberbullying, they are only one part of the solution. Parents also bear a responsibility to take reasonable precautions for their children’s safety when they are interacting online. They can play a pivotal role in encouraging safe practices online for their children.
What can you do to protect against online harassment?
Some of the best ways to combat cyberbullying is through awareness. Speaking with children to understand what types of interactions they are encountering online can help steer them toward safer online spaces. Monitoring what websites they are accessing, such as online chatrooms or forums where they might encounter people is also a way to guard them against online harassment.
In some cases where cyberbullying rises to the level of online defamation or harassment, you may also be able to pursue a legal claim against those targeting your child by obtaining an injunction. When the bullying is this severe, significant steps like this may be necessary to ensure that your child can be safe online.