February 28, 2014

Confronting Cyberbullying in Schools

A new white paper reveals tips for law enforcement – and how technology can help

EAGAN, Minn. – Social media and technology have changed the very nature of bullying. As a result, parents and victims also have changed how they respond, increasingly taking their cases directly to law enforcement rather than notifying school officials first. In fact, a 2013 Thomson Reuters survey of American parents indicated more than one third of parents would turn to law enforcement first if their child were the victim of cyberbullying.

But how should law enforcement respond?

Fighting Cyberbullying in Schools: What Law Enforcement, Schools and Parents Can Do, a new white paper from the Fraud Prevention & Investigation business of Thomson Reuters, offers views from law enforcement professionals, a judge and a county attorney on the impact of cyberbullying and how it can be confronted.

The free white paper is available to download at www.legalsolutions.thomsonreuters.com/bullying.  

“Cyberbullying strikes a powerful chord because unlike more traditional forms of bullying, victims rarely have the ability to escape,” said Andy Russell, vice president, Fraud Prevention & Investigations, Thomson Reuters. “Harassing text messages or rumors shared on social media don’t go away easily which can have a devastating impact on victims and, as recent survey data shows, is moving parents to choose to escalate their response beyond school resource officers and to turn to law enforcement.”

As law enforcement is increasingly called upon to respond to cyberbullying cases, many agencies turn to new investigative technology, such as CLEAR®. The CLEAR investigative suite, in combination with other traditional investigative methods, can help law enforcement, school resource officers and others identify and locate people engaged in cyberbullying, research social media activity and find potential connections to other perpetrators and victims.

“In order for law enforcement to respond to cyberbullying, agencies must use all tools at their disposal to investigate, and technology is available to aid their work and help protect victims,” Russell said.

In conjunction with the white paper, FindLaw.com, the most popular legal information website, commissioned a recent survey that shows nearly one in 12 parents report that their child has been a victim of cyberbullying.

“While a fair number of parents report their child being victimized by cyberbullying, the survey likely understates the true incidence of cyberbullying,” said Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney-editor at FindLaw.com. “Many parents may not be aware that their children are receiving threatening or harassing messages, or that reputation-damaging posts about their children are being made on social media sites.”

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