Internet defamation doesn’t just happen to companies or celebrities. Individuals can experience it happening to them, and it is something that is very common between teenagers through the likes of Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. Cyber defamation is a form of bullying, as individuals attack a person’s character.
The best thing for teenagers and parents of teenagers is to understand more about internet defamation. The more you know, the more you can do to nip it in the bud and prevent it from affecting those close to you.
What Exactly Is Cyber Defamation?
In short, defamation is when someone (or a group of individuals) states something that injures another person’s reputation or character. There are two ways that this can be done; through the written word (libel) and through the spoken word (slander). When it appears on social media, it is libel, and there are cases where individuals have been prosecuted for this type of bullying. It tends to be much easier to trace and find evidence for than the spoken word.
There are a few ways that cyber bullies do this on social media. Most of them do it in private, through direct messaging on Twitter or through private messaging on Facebook. However, there is the ability to create anonymous accounts, especially on the likes of Twitter, so individuals can defame a person in public. Both are just as hurtful and damaging as each other.
Proving Internet Defamation has Occurred
It is possible to seek compensation for this type of defamation, but a few things need to occur first. The main one is proving that the statement was false, while proving that it injured the person’s reputation. At the same time, the individual(s) posting the statement should also know that at least some of it was false at the time of writing/saying.
Many parents of teenagers may worry that proving all this can be difficult. For some, it’s not about getting the compensation but about bringing a stop to it. You want to know that your child is being bullied, no matter how old they are. That leads to finding out ways to help your teenager if they are a victim or potential victim of cyber defamation.
Protecting Teenagers from Cyber Defamation on Social Media
One of the first things parents can do is report anything abusive that they see on social media. The easiest one is on Twitter, where anonymous accounts will often post publically. While your teenager may not want you to see their status updates and messages, it could help their self-esteem if they are being bullied. The social media platforms have the power to close down accounts if individuals are found abusing people. This has happened. Collecting the evidence is definitely something worth doing, as this will help if you decide to go to court over the defamation.
Twitter also has a block option. It’s worth encouraging your teen to block anyone who sends hurtful and false statements. While it does not stop the individual posting, your teen is less likely to see it and will not be hurt by it.
Talk to your teenager about the internet defamation. Being open about bullying and discussing options between each other can help to bring a stop to it. It can also help to prevent low self-esteem and suicide, which has been in the news a lot recently due to cyber and social media bullying.
It is difficult to see you teenager hurt, and children can be very mean. Social media has opened the doors for Internet defamation and as a parent you want to prevent it from happening. While you can’t completely stop it, you can take action to help your teenager cope with it and seek retribution in the future.