In late 2014, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued a decision that recognized a cause of action against the parents of a teenager who posted hurtful information about another teenager on the internet. The case caught the attention of many in the media which published stories claiming the case was the first to impose a duty on parents to supervise their children’s use of the internet. In this essay, I argue the case has been misinterpreted. It does not create such a duty and it does not hold that parents are liable for the conduct of their children either, which other stories covering the case have claimed. The case does recognize a possible cause of action against the parents but it does so by applying established principles of tort law to a new situation. Having said that, I also argue that one of the issues left unresolved by the court may, if addressed eventually, opens the door for a new approach to certain claims.
Bernabe, Alberto, Do Parents Have a Duty to Supervise Their Children’s Use of the Internet? (December 2014).