Attorney General Reminds Parents to be Aware of Their Child’s Actions Online
Attorney General Jim Hood reminds parents to be aware of what our young people are doing online as the new school year is underway.
“Parents, you should familiarize yourself with today’s new and popular social media sites and apps that are being utilized by our young people on a daily basis,” said Attorney General Hood. “Be conscious of what is being posted on the internet by your own child as well as by their friends.”
Attorney General Hood said, “The inundation of social media apps and sites among our students today allows many of the social distresses and conflicts encountered at school to carry over into the virtual world after school. Various apps and sites allow users to post comments anonymously giving anyone the chance to say anything, even if it is harmful to another person. Students believe they are hiding behind the anonymity of the internet. This often provides more opportunities for cyberbullying to occur and can lead to uncomfortable learning environments at school.”
Cyberbullying takes place when one child or teen uses the internet, cellphone or other types of social media to harass, embarrass or taunt another person. Cyberbullying can be used to get revenge or help boost one’s self-esteem by putting others down. Some bully others online because they think it’s funny and do not understand the repercussions it can have on a person’s life.
“Be on alert for bullying behaviors exhibited by your child online or at school, whether they are the bully or being bullied,” said Attorney General Hood. “If you discover that your child is the bully, get to the root of the behavior and end it before someone gets hurt.”
Mississippi cyberstalking laws make it a felony to use electronic communication to threaten or harass someone online. Mississippi Code Ann. § 97-45-17 (2013) underlines that a person shall not post a message for the purpose of causing injury to another person. Anyone violating this law can receive a felony conviction and up to five years in prison.
Attorney General Hood concludes, “I want to encourage parents and teachers to take an active role in helping to inform our children and students that posting messages with the intent to cause anyone harm is intolerable in this state and has grave consequences.”
More information and additional resources for cyber safety, including our “What Parents Should Know: Cyberbullying” brochure, can be found at www.agjimhood.com.