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Parents can be held responsible for kids' Facebook posts

Parents can be held responsible for kids' Facebook posts
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

I've told you before that you need to be careful about what you post on Facebook, but now, you also need to be careful about what your kids post on Facebook. Otherwise, you could land in legal hot water.

That's because the Georgia Court of Appeals found that parents of a 7th grade boy may be guilty of negligence because they failed to remove a fake Facebook profile that pretended to be of one of the boy's female classmates.

The page was started back in 2011 when the unnamed boy and a friend used a "Fat Face" app to make the girl appear obese in the profile photo, and then wrote Facebook comments that made the girl seem "racist and promiscuous."

The boy even sent friend requests to friends, classmates, family members and teachers, amassing 70 friend connections in just a few days.

When the fake Facebook profile was first brought to the attention of school officials and the boy's parents, the boy had two days of in-school suspension and was grounded for a week.

The bogus Facebook page however, remained up and running for an additional 11 months. It wasn't taken down until the girl's parents notified Facebook and Facebook deactivated the page - but not until the victim's family was set to appear on CNN to tell their story to the world.

So why should parents be held responsible for what their kids are posting? There are a lot of details and speculation around the issue, but here's what the girl's lawyer had to say:

“Given that the false and offensive statements remained on display, and continued to reach readers, for an additional eleven months, we conclude that a jury could find that the [parents'] negligence proximately caused some part of the injury [the girl] sustained from [the boy's] actions (and inactions),” wrote Judge John J. Ellington in the opinion, which was handed down Oct. 10.

What do you think? Should the parents in this case be held liable for their son's online actions? Let me know by posting in the comments below.

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