One police case after another playing out in the media serves as a reminder of the fact that police are not taking cyberbullying lightly. In a new story this week, a North Carolina teen faces charges after she allegedly set up fake social media accounts and text messages to make it appear as if she was a victim of cyberbullying.
The fake messages included death threats, and were not only sent to the accused but also to a family member. These messages were allegedly all sent by the accused, from bogus social media accounts and via a service that masks the origin of cell phone text messages.
The abusive messages were originally reported to a school resource officer who then called in the police, who were required to undergo a month long investigation before bringing charges. The teen has been released after her parents posted a bond, and there is no telling where the story goes from here.
There is no doubt that the entirety of this story is regrettable and should never have happened in the first place. The message for parents is clear. Cyberbullying is a serious issue, and once reported at school, the police are probably going to be involved. Once police are involved, parents lose practically all control over the situation.
The only way that this situation could have been nipped in the bud is if the accused’s parents were more involved in and aware of her online activity as these things were happening. We are not faulting the parents, in this case or in general. Many are too busy, or not technologically savvy enough to do it by themselves.
For parents who are unable to keep abreast of what teens are doing online, ThirdParent is here to help. Our proprietary, confidential process gives parents the tools be a leader when leadership is required. As we like to say, for parents, the first step in dealing with cyberbullying is to make sure that your child is not the bully.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.