Should parents of Cyber Bullies be held criminally responsible for their children’s actions?

Two girls (fourteen and twelve years old in Florida have been arrested and charged with aggravated stalking and cyber bullying after they allegedly tormented a 12-year-old girl named Rebecca so relentlessly that last month, she leapt to her death from a tower in an abandoned concrete plant. The arrest came after the following post was made on the fourteen year olds Facebook page: “Yes IK I bullied REBECCA nd she killed herself but IDGAF.”

We are constantly hearing about teenagers committing suicide due to cyber bullying. In fact, cyber bullying is becoming more common than actual physical bullying, this may be because the bullies feel “safer” when sitting behind a computer screen because they know their victim cannot “get them” as it were.

Following the two girls being arrested for cyber bullying Rebecca, the sheriffs department have said that they would like to charge the parents of both girls because they feel that the parents’ were irresponsible and negligent because they apparently didn’t have a clue that their daughter’s were bullying Rebecca via the internet. It is my personal opinion that the parents should be charged or at least given a stern talking to by the police for being negligent. This is because they were not keeping an eye on their children whilst they were using social media which allowed the two girls to get away with murder (literally in a sense).

I’m not saying I would expect these parents to literally stand over their children whilst they are using the computer because no parent can watch their child 24/7, the children go to school, go and visit their friends and the parents are working and keeping the house in order so you can see why it would be hard for parents to watch their child’s every move. However, it does baffle me how these two girls were terrorising and tormenting Rebecca nearly every minute of every day, right under the noses of their parents’ and managed to get away with it for as long as they did.

Currently under the law of America, if a child kills someone with a gun which is owned by the parents’ then the parents’ get charged, if a child kills someone whilst operating their parents’ car then the parents get charged. But if a child breaks the law whilst using a piece of technology that the parent provided them with (such as a mobile phone, tablet or laptop) then the parents get off scot free. This, I feel, is completely wrong. Parents need to understand that the technology they give their children can be used for evil as much as it can be used for good and when a parent gives their child a laptop or another piece of technology and the child chooses to use that technology to break the law and inflict harm on someone ( as these two 12 and 14 year old girls did), the parent is just as responsible for the crime as the child is, if not more so.

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