McCurdy Group - Insurance and Financial Consultants

Friday, December 12, 2014

Cyberbullying: More Than Words Can Hurt You

"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me."

We tell our children this so they won't react to other kids calling them names. The truth is that words can hurt, not physically, but emotionally and psychologically. Nowadays schoolyard bullying doesn't stop at school. With texting, cell phones, uploaded videos, and other social media these ever-more vicious attacks can be almost non-stop. Some of these cyberbullies even create websites specifically targeting a single victim.

Teenagers are online in one form or another nearly around the clock. Thus a cyberbully can reach their target anytime and the attack can be viewed by a much larger group of the victim's peers and even go viral. Websites and videos can eventually be pulled down but the damage has already been done and easily reloaded. A more pernicious aspect is some cyberbullies use anonymous emails or fake screen names to try to hide their tracks so the source can't be identified. This emboldens the bullies even more as they don't fear retaliation or punishment. Sadly law-enforcement is reluctant to get involved unless an actual crime is committed or there is a threat of physical harm.

As horrible as the idea of your child being a victim of cyberbullying, imagine if your child was the bully or falsely accused of being the bully. Civil lawsuits usually follow, psychological counseling is often recommended for both the victim and abuser. Even if the accusation of cyberbullying turns out to be groundless reputations have been ruined.

Contact your insurance agent to see if you have liability coverage, that could help you if you get sued. It is important to talk to your children and employees to help avoid a stressful situation for your family or workplace. No one wants to go though this, so be sure to think before you post, tweet, or upload. Once it's on the internet, it's there forever.

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