August 9, 2023
Palm Beach Gardens, FL – As the new school year begins, Cohen Milstein, a premier plaintiffs’ law firm, encourages students to take control of their identity and person to avoid becoming a target of cyberbullying, cyberstalking or sexual exploitation.
“As technology has become more advanced, cyberbullying and cyberstalking have become easier,” said Takisha Richardson, leader of Cohen Milstein’s Sexual Abuse & Sex Trafficking practice and author of “Be Cool. Be Confident. Return to School with a Plan.”
Richardson, the former Assistant State Attorney and Chief of the Special Victims Unit of the State Attorney’s Office for Palm Beach County, Florida, is a highly respected advocate of victims’ rights and trial attorney with significant experience navigating the judicial system.
Richardson points to a recent study conducted by Pew Research showing 46% of students reported experiencing some form of cyberbullying – higher than the 40% total in the 2020 Pew Research survey.
According to the study, older teen girls have consistently experienced the most cyberbullying.
Richardson also points to social media and gaming apps as means to make cyberbullying and cyberstalking easier.
“Kids are technologically savvy and many spend a good deal of time on social media and gaming apps. But that doesn’t mean they are mature enough to recognize when someone’s apparently good intentions are bad, know how to stop an offensive person, or have the confidence to talk to an adult when they have been hurt by the harmful behavior of a bully or stalker.”
Richardson also points to the dangers of devices which were created to track valuables like keys and luggage.
“Tracking devices, such as AirTag, SmartTag, Tile, and Chipolo are, unfortunately, making cyberstalking easier for perpetrators who want to scare or harm unsuspecting targets,” Richardson said. “Devices like the AirTag and Chipolo ONE are the size of a quarter, so they are easy to slip into a backpack, coat, car, or other personal belongings. This means kids must not only monitor their gear more closely, but also know what to do if they find one of these devices on their person.”
Richardson offers kids and their parents some practical information on how to identify cyberbullying and cyberstalking, how to recognize key emotional and psychological indicators of what a child might experience if they are a target, and how to stop the harmful behavior. “It’s also important to remember that some cyberbullying and cyberstalking can cross the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.”
About Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC
Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC is recognized as one of the premier law firms in the country handling major, complex plaintiff-side litigation. With more than 100 attorneys, Cohen Milstein has offices in Washington, DC; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL.; Minneapolis, MN; New York, NY; Palm Beach Gardens, FL.; Philadelphia, PA.; and Raleigh, NC. For additional information, visit www.cohenmilstein.com or call 202.408.4600.