What to Do When Your Child Is Accused of Bullying

by Savannah on April 19, 2013

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The contemporary digital age has surely brought its advantages and disadvantages. The ability to communicate immediately has “virtually” taken over as the younger generation becomes the first to be exposed to the technology during their entire lives. However, digital technology does not keep young people from being young people and the capabilities for harassing communication abound. Children have been bullied physically for many years, but the rash of activity surrounding social media has brought new awareness to the problem with a modern theme.

What is Bullying?

Bullying exists in many forms. Verbal abuse and creating individual embarrassment among peers is an aggressive behavior pattern just like stealing a child’s lunch money. Most individuals accused of bullying are teenagers, which means they are legally classified as minors. Being a minor is not a protection under the law. The legal classification does allow for the court record to be expunged at some point, but this must be requested from the court in the form of a legal motion. It is not automatic and can be problematic later in life. The parents of the offending child are still responsible to a large degree for the child’s actions while a minor, but bullying is effectively at least fourth degree assault via harassing communications. It is a crime that can be reported and verified. Physical bullying is obviously a traditional assault crime.

Going to Court

Many parents of bullying victims have actually taken cases of bullying to court, including filing criminal charges. Defamation laws are also in play resulting from the public embarrassment. Actual malice is not a necessary component of a civil defamation claim for a private citizen and a reasonable expectation of privacy begins with the right to be left alone. Parents of children who orchestrate personal attacks can easily be put at financial risk if the wrong child is the victim. This activity has actually resulted in a wave of teenage suicide and is no laughing matter because of the permanent nature of digital communication. Victims can actually use the medium to impact any subsequent case. In states like New York where cyberbullying can be considered discrimination or harassment, a personal injury lawyer Albany NY based may be necessary.

Group Bullying

Bullying often occurs by multiple parties directing an attack on one specific person. All of these parents of aggressive children are at risk of litigation and some could actually be assessed as complicit. Any court orders associated with a criminal charge should be vigorously enforced by the parents, especially if the result will be a deferred judgement. Parents of all offending minors should network to ensure compliance with the court instructions and communicate with the court.

Professional Counseling

Even if the charges are dropped, bullying can be an indication that a child will have problems adjusting socially as they get older. It is an excellent teaching opportunity for the parent that is adamant on proper behavior from their children. If the medium is a large part of the problem, then eliminate access to the medium. It can make the entire family vulnerable. If the problem is physical behavior, then professional counseling may be necessary. Courts may actually order this remedy in a deferred order.

Parents of children engaged in bullying should consider themselves lucky if any problems do not land in court. Social media abuse is clearly a legal area that is on the rise in our contemporary litigious society. The old days of parental guidance are over if the behavior of the child can result in legal action. It is more important now than ever before for a parent to monitor their children’s behavior and act swiftly and positively when necessary.

Savannah Bobo is a freelance writer, blogger, social media user, and aunt of three. Insults and harassment online can be just as severe as face-to-face bullying, although virtual interaction may create a sense of distance. If extreme bullying leads to personal injury charges, a personal injury lawyer Albany NY located, such as those at the Bottar Leone firm, can explain pain and suffering, conduct interviews, and collect evidence.




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