Children’s online activities not only have implications for cyber security but can also create liability exposures.
Cyber risk has made headlines recently, and I want to draw attention to some of the private risks we face at home – in particular how children of affluent families can be at risk.
“Personal litigation for children bullying other children is on an upswing” – Property & Casualty 360, June 2016
In the US, issues like cyber-bullying are increasingly moving to litigation – particularly where a link can be drawn to subsequent self-harm. And families with apparently deep pockets are more likely to be a target. Online activities are almost impossible to police; the best risk management lies in conversation – read on for our 10 suggested topics.
Ten Talking Points For Managing Cyber Risks
Cyberbullying can be as seemingly naive as 10-year-old Jimmy group-texting his pals that 10-year-old Maya is “ugly and stupid.” But if Jimmy continues to make such hurtful comments, and Maya physically harms herself because of them, his parents may be liable for defamation, not to mention Maya’s emotional distress, sleeplessness, anxiety and worse.
Though there are several apps for monitoring children’s social media activity, it’s almost impossible to police. But you can TALK through the risks and explain that more affluent families may be at higher risk of being sued if they’re perceived to have deep pockets. If you’re short of ideas, Google the names of the apps your kids use plus the word “dangers”…
- Permanence: what they post now could surface later in life when they least expect it – your online presence leaves a trail.
- The law: one 15-year-old boy in the US exchanged Snaps with a 14-year-old girl, some of which were topless. The boy saved them – and because the girl was 14, in the eyes of state law it was considered child pornography possession. Had the girl’s parents pressed charges, he might have ended up on the sex offender register…
- Privacy: the Snapchat app requires access to your contacts – are they sharing personal info on family and friends?
- Security: are they posting images of your home and possessions online? What could a hacker find out about your assets?
- Cyber-bullying could end up in court: especially if you’re perceived to have deep pockets. It’s not just saying mean things, but also sharing information and pictures against someone’s will
- Libel/defamation: defamatory comments about teachers could also end up in court.
- Grooming: online recruiting is the third most productive method for luring young women and girls into prostitution.
- Friend risk: even if your children are highly responsible, they may find themselves with others who are not. Know when to disengage.
- Filters on: online connections are real people – don’t say anything you wouldn’t say to their face.
- Location: are you giving away too much about where you are or where you’re planning to be? Affluent families are more exposed to ransom requests…
And discuss practical ways to stay safe, including:
- Change passwords regularly
- Different passwords for different devices/apps
Let your children teach you about the apps they like to use and why. Help them make smart decisions to keep themselves and their reputations and families safe.
We work with a number of specialist advisers in the cyber risks arena – do let us know if you need any assistance. To talk through the Liability and Legal Expenses cover in your home insurance, just or call 646 665 7737 or email [email protected]
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