As we approach the holiday season, the warm glow of festivities fills the air, reminding us of the importance of family and community. This joyous time also presents an opportunity for us to come together as a community and address the challenges posed by technology, particularly when it comes to our teens. While technology can be a blessing, it also brings its share of concerns, one of the most pressing being cyberbullying.
In a world where social media platforms like YouTube and TikTok are an integral part of daily life for our teens, the issue of overuse of technology is something many parents, including attorney Kyle Tatum of ACE Law Group, grapple with. "I do have kids, and it's an issue we deal with," Tatum acknowledges. "I mean, if we let kids run wild, they could be on the phone or their computer 10 hours a day."
However, it's not just excessive screen time that concerns parents. The danger of cyberbullying looms large. According to recent research by the Pew Research Center, half of all U.S. teens report being bullied or harassed online. An example of this issue occurred right here in Southern Nevada. Tatum, working alongside ACE Law Group's Founder and Lead Attorney, Patrick Kang, was involved in a case concerning former Clark County School District student Min Woo Cho.
In 2019, Cho's family filed a lawsuit alleging that the Clark County School District had not done enough to protect their son, who was a Junior at West Career and Technical Academy at the time. Their claim stemmed from the severe online bullying he endured at the hands of his classmates. Ultimately, the jury ruled in Cho's favor. Tatum notes, "This case is an example that this problem of cyberbullying is out there, and it's something that every family should have a conversation with their children about, especially given how much time kids and teens are spending online."
The good news is that our State Legislature has taken proactive measures to address this issue and ensure the safety of our young people. Laws are in place that categorize all forms of bullying as illegal, with mandatory requirements for school districts to report and respond promptly to these cases. Tatum highlights, "There are state laws on the books where parents are liable for the conduct of their minor children." He adds that parents can be held accountable for their children's wrongful actions, emphasizing the importance of instilling responsibility.
As the holidays approach, many kids and teens will likely have the latest cell phones or tablets on their wish lists. Alongside these presents, Tatum suggests that a sit-down conversation with the entire family should be a mandatory gift. "It's important for parents to have a good line of communication with their children," Tatum advises. "It's key to have that line of trust so that the kids can come to you and ask questions and have that safe space to talk to their mom and dad in a positive way."
This holiday season, let's not just exchange presents but also share conversations that strengthen the bonds within our families and communities. Together, we can combat cyberbullying and ensure our teens' online experiences are safe and uplifting, just like the spirit of the season.