Parents of 12-Year-Old Cyberstalker Are to Blame for Bullying


gavel court of lawWhen I was a kid, the worst kind of technology-based bullying a tween could inflict on a peer was using blind three-way call to sabotage her friend's reputation. These days, it's a whole new ballgame involving Facebook and other forms of social media. And it's gotten so out of hand that it seems the court of law needs to be involved. In fact, a 12-year-old girl from Washington state was sentenced this week to probation and community service for cyberstalking a peer. She and an 11-year-old accomplice doctored the other girl's Facebook account with explicit photos and solicitations for sex.

But the mother of the victim isn't satisfied with the sentencing of the girls who "hacked" her daughter's Facebook page. They'll be allowed to go online under parental supervision, and apparently, that's not a strict enough punishment for the mother of the victim.

Maybe parental supervision is precisely what could have saved these tweens and their parents from ending up in court in the first place!

I've heard from parents of tweens that it's pretty much impossible to keep your kiddo off of social media. If they want on, they're going to get on -- even if they're under 13 (the minimum age to sign up for Facebook). But that doesn't mean you have to give up on trying to make them adhere to a rule or monitoring/supervising their online activity. It seems the parents of the cyberstalkers could have done more to prevent this from occurring in the first place.

Furthermore, I don't see why the parents couldn't have just settled this amongst themselves -- unless they, despite being the adults here, were hell-bent on acting like adolescents. And I'm not saying the girls who inflicted the cyberbullying shouldn't have been formally punished.  But was a judge really the only person or third-party who could have mediated this situation? 

The bottom-line, in the words of Web Wise Kids CEO Judi Westberg Warren:

Parents need to be partners with their kids online. It's really, really critical in this day and age. The damage can be so wide spread.

In other words, there's really no excuse these days for parents to simply shrug and saying, "Oh well, what could I have done?" They're the gatekeepers and the rulemakers for their kids' Internet use or abuse. And there are obviously various steps the parents on either side of this case could have taken to prevent their kids from landing in court.

What do you think about this 12-year-old's sentencing?

Image via Brian Turner/Flickr



law, in the news, crime, facebook, cyberbullying, discipline, tweens, girls, friends, behavior, bullies


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Alynn74 Alynn74

      It's a shame that this kid's parents not only aren't teaching her that her behavior is unacceptable but now saying that there was nothing they could do. I have access to all my daughter's online things.She also doesn't have a cell phone and isn't allowed to go and do whatever she wants when she wants. It is frustrating and irritating to hear parents say how kids in the tween and teen years aren't making good choices/judgements because it's "just the age" but then let them loose with all the new technology because they feel they are responsible enough to handle it. Kids don't magically become adult-like and more responsible when they hit the age of 12. Drives me crazy how parents seem to be too afraid of being labeled an "uncool" parent or are to fricking lazy to continue to teach/watch their kids once they reach middle school.

Allison Priest Leonard

I hate hearing that "it's pretty much" impossible to stop children from doing something. Uh, they're children. When did we give up and decide to expect them to break our rules? 

nonmember avatar MeMom

If you're a parent who is not overseeing your child on their social network(s), iphone, both messages & pictures sent or received, then you are not doing your job, you are lazy and inept! How you protected and taught your child when they were 3, 6, 9, should not change that much just because they are 12 or 15 -- the rules don't change; the roles don't reverse.

babyg... babygirlsofmine

Rubert Murdoch, his editor, Brooks, a police chief and several exectives have quite, been arrested, ect..for allegedly hacking hundreds of phone calls. If a major global empire can fall from hacking, certainly the punishment for these teens should be more than probabation expecially when they used expliciti sexual pictures. Most likely these culprits will just laugh at their sentence and continue to plot other ways they can harm their next victim.

Victoria Goins

can you say JESSI SLAUGHTER??

nonmember avatar Daniel

Thats what happens when too much is given too soon. Too much freedom for people to enjoy = abuse

nonmember avatar Anonymous Mom

Facebook requires kids to be 13 before they can have an account. All you parents out there who allow your tweens on FB, shame on you.

nonmember avatar MommyMe

When I had internet on my home computer I never allowed my kids to have public networking profiles. Only thing they could do was look for songs they like to listen to or play games aty a games site and I didn't let them make a profile anywhere. Our home computer is in the living room. There is no privacy. I'm not saying other parents should not allow their kids to have online profiles but at least have only one computer and do not allow privacy! I have seen so many teens with innapropriate videos and pictures on their profiles and you could tell they were in their own room. Maybe a lot of parents trust their kids, but obviously you can't always trust them.

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