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Von Haden Comments on Cyber-Bullying Insurance Risk

As students head back to school, many educational institutions are offering programs to help kids cope with the impact of bullying on school grounds...
September 5, 2013

As students head back to school, many educational institutions are offering programs to help kids cope with the impact of bullying on school grounds. However, the Internet has ushered in a new phenomenon called cyber-bullying that could make parents liable for comments their children make on Facebook and other social websites.

“Schools are extremely limited in the actions they can take for offenses committed off school property; so victims are fighting back against cyber-bullying by suing the parents of the perpetrators on the grounds of personal injury, libel and/or slander,” explained Ron Von Haden, CIC, executive vice president of PIA National and PIA of Wisconsin.

“Most families will have some protection under the liability coverage in their homeowner’s policy,” Von Haden told the Cambridge (WI) News & Independent. “This may mean parents could be held responsible for some or all of the money or damages awarded to the cyber-bullying victim.” Experts say it’s not only genuine tormentors who can get into trouble, but any child who posts a negative or sarcastic comment – perhaps even in jest. Children may not have the intent to hurt someone, but still commit bullying incidents without even realizing they’re doing it.

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