Teens and Computers
Haven’t you said something you wished you could take back? In one instant of anger the words just fly and for a moment you think it was worth it to get the rage out. But in the very next second you are hit with a bucket of cold water and you realized that it really wasn’t worth it. Teenagers are prone to such behavior, they are still learning that all actions have consequences and they must own up to those consequences. Today a bad choice that could be redeemed with an apology and time is now likely to be broadcast on the Internet where it not only reaches an unknown audience, but may also stick around for years to come.
Social Media sites such as Facebook and Twitter can unfortunately become another platform for teens to share their (sometimes less-than-flattering) opinions about their peers. But did you know that if your teen expresses his or her opinion a little too freely in a public forum, publishes bullying or teasing posts, or even reveals private confidential information about a peer on the Internet, you as the parent may be exposed to a liability insurance claim?
Generally, if your child causes property damage or bodily injury to another person – say, by bumping into a team mate during a basketball game and causing an awkward accident, or breaking an antique vase at a friend’s house — your standard homeowner’s or renter’s policy would extend to cover the liability on your child’s behalf. However, the spreading of rumors or revealing information about another that could damage a person’s reputation and cause long-term consequences is a different story. Because Social Media is used more frequently as part of a job or college applicant’s background check, such behavior could cause a severe price for the victim. Depending on the offense, a victim could pursue legal action under a type of defamation known as publication of private facts.
A standard homeowner’s policy will not cover these liabilities. The solution: A Personal Injury Endorsement. This endorsement will extend coverage to include liabilities resulting if you or other members of your household verbally offend another party. It pays to defend you and (up to policy limits) pays to settle a case when legal action is brought against you or your children for defamation. Keep in mind, though, that adapting your insurance plan is not enough. Most importantly, whether you choose to actively monitor your teen’s Social Media accounts or opt to invest in one of many available software programs, be sure to talk with your teen about proper behavior on Social Media sites, and the consequences of publishing offending or emotionally charged remarks.