Parents may be accused of cyberbullying and held legally liable for their childrenâ€™s Facebook activity if found offensive, according to a Reuters news story.
This decision, ruled by Presiding Judge John J. Ellington from the Court of Appeals of Georgia, was taken after two seven-grade students posted inappropriate comments about a colleague on a fake Facebook profile. The two created the fake page impersonating their classmate and used an image manipulation mobile app to distort her pictures.
â€œAfter Dustin created the account, both Dustin and Melissa added information to the unauthorized profile, which indicated inter alia, racist viewpoints and a homosexual orientationâ€, the court document reads. â€œDustin and Melissa also caused the persona to issue invitations to become â€˜Friendsâ€™ to many of Alexâ€™s classmates, teachers, and extended family members.â€
The court said the content on the false Facebook page is â€œgraphically sexual, racist or otherwise offensive.”
Although the parents of the two children were informed of their childrenâ€™s actions, the Facebook profile remained active for 11 months and continued to accept new friend requests.
â€œGiven that the false and offensive statements remained on display, and continued to reach readers, for an additional 11 months, we conclude that a jury could find that the [parents’] negligence proximately caused some part of the injury [the girl] sustained from [the boy’s] actions (and inactions),â€ Judge Ellington said.
The case will go to the lower court for trial.