Cyberbullying is the use of technology or social media platforms to harass, threaten, embarrass or target another person. Cyberbullying may result in emotional injury including emotional distress, anxiety, depression, fear, insecurity and mental anguish -which in some cases may make victim consider self-harm or suicide.
With the advances in technology and a dramatic increase in the use of social media as a primary means of communication, cyberbullying – – in most cases of children and teenagers – – is reaching epidemic proportions. While the criminal system has addressed this issue and is punishing offenders, not much is being done to compensate the victims. However, social media liability law is evolving, and our lawyers are at the forefront of this new wave of litigation.
An initial obstacle to obtaining damages for the victims of cyberbullying is establishing insurance coverage. Many insurance companies regard cyberbullying as an “intentional act” and exclude these claims from coverage. However, some jurisdictions are recognizing exceptions to the “intentional acts” exclusion and requiring insurance carriers to pay damages to the victims.
It is also important to recognize that in some cases, the parents of a child engaged in cyberbullying may be held liable where the parent is negligent in failing to monitor and supervise their child’s activities online correctly.