The Georgia Court of Appeals has ruled that parents can be held liable for their child’s Facebook posts. This decision could now set a legal precedent on the issue of parental responsibility over their children’s online activity.
Child’s Facebook Posts Bring Lawsuit
In the Georgia case of Boston vs Athearns, the Bostons sought damages for libel and intentional infliction of emotional distress and claimed the Athearns (parents) made no effort to compel their child to delete or remove the fake Facebook page he made about their child. The Georgia Court of Appeals upheld the negligence claims against the parents and concluded that a jury could find the parents’ negligence caused some part of the injury to the child which were sustained from their child’s actions and inactions of the parents.
Child’s Facebook Posts Needed Parental Action
The courts ruled that even though the parents could not anticipate their child using the computer in a harmful way, once they found out about the creation of the fake profile and Facebook posts, they had a duty to supervise further computer activities. The court argues that the parents’ non-actions could be negligent, because having been informed of the problematic page their son created, they may have had a responsibility to then monitor that page.
Facebook Lawsuits Include Adult Behaviors
Potential liability for creating fake Facebook pages can also occur with adults, including the U.S. government which has been sued by an American citizen. The U.S. Department of Justice paid $134,000 to settle a suit by a New York woman who accused a drug enforcement agent of using her photos along with other personal data taken from her cellphone following her arrest to make a fake Facebook page on her behalf. The agent then posed as the woman to ensnare drug dealers, according to news reports.
Child’s Facebook Posts and Cyber Bullying Attorney
When your child has been involved in online behaviors that may cause emotional distress or harm, post comments or pictures that defame, publicly embarrass, or result in self-harm to others, you need a lawyer with the experience and background to handle your case. Call the office of Joel Baskin.