If the teenagers in your family are like most young Americans, they spend much of their lives on connected devices. Indeed, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the average teen in the U.S. is online for roughly nine hours every single day.
Because there is a great deal of bad stuff on the internet, it makes sense to monitor your teens’ online activities. Even if you do so, though, you may not be able to keep your kids from behaving inappropriately.
Mississippi law makes it a crime to cyberstalk another person. If someone in your family uses an internet-connected device to harass, threaten or intimidate someone else, he or she may satisfy the elements of the criminal offense. In the Magnolia State, cyberstalking is a felony-level crime that can come with incarceration and hefty fines.
Your parental role
It is not uncommon for online arguments between young people to get out of control, of course. Generally, a single or off-handed comment is not enough to qualify as criminal cyberstalking. That is, for prosecutors to secure a conviction, they typically must show a pattern of illegal behaviors.
As a parent, you are in a good position to stop your teens before they cross the line. If educating the young ones in your family about the consequences of cyberstalking does not do the trick, restricting or even ending their online time may work.
Ultimately, though, because a cyberstalking conviction can quickly ruin a young person’s life, it is critical to explore all possible defenses to any charges your son or daughter might be facing.