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A new FindLaw.com survey reveals nearly one in 12 parents say their children have felt the effects of cyberbullying.
In a survey that polled hundreds of adults, FindLaw.com found that 7 percent said their children had experienced some form of cyberbullying. That suggests millions of children have dealt with the pervasive issue.
Still, many more parents may not be aware of how cyberbullying may be affecting their child. Here's a general overview of what parents need to know about cyberbullying and how to deal with it:
When children are harassed or victimized via the Internet or mobile technology, it's called cyberbullying. And while some are skeptical that cyberbullying is more than just a buzzword, it has been linked to several deaths.
The serious and potentially criminal consequences of cyberbullying make it all the more important to understand its impact on children and their families. Key to this understanding is acknowledging its myriad forms: social media attacks, vicious texts, and even hurtful emails.
Cyberbullying even can encompass disseminating sexually explicit photos of a teen in an attempt to shame or humiliate that person.
Of the parents who told FindLaw.com that their children have been cyberbullied, 75 percent say they reported the bullying to others. Like other forms of bullying, cyberbullying cannot be addressed unless it is reported to someone in power to act -- like a school administrator or the police.
Three out of four parents told FindLaw.com surveyers that they reported these incidents typically to "friends, school, relatives, law enforcement, and church or clergy." Reporting the incident to law enforcement may be more effective now than in previous years -- 19 states now boast cyberbullying-specific laws, according to the Cyberbullying Research Center.
Aside from involving school authorities or law enforcement, parents may wonder if they can sue for cyberbullying. Although this field of law is still evolving, there are now examples of victims and their families suing cyberbullies.
If the results of the FindLaw.com survey are any indication, your family and your child are not alone in the struggle with cyberbullying.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.