I work with parents in my juvenile defense practice and am often asked to provide suggestions on how parents can prepare their children for the online world. While there is no magic bullet solution to this ongoing discussion, I do have a few helpful hints for parents to consider.
Internet Safety Discussion Begins at a Young Age
My first suggestion is to start talking about internet safety with your children at a young age. One of the best ways a parent can do this is by taking the time to sit down with your child, side by side, and go online with them.
Even if your 8 or 9 year old is only going online to play games, this practice is helpful because you have the opportunity to understand the lay of the land from their perspective. You can learn about what sites they like to visit and why they like them and ask them to walk you through particular games, apps, or sites. As you explore with your child, this opens the door for further discussion and gives you a platform to ask questions. You may ask them whether they have ever received unwanted communication by strangers online, or if they have ever felt unsafe online. It is much easier for a parent to require that they go online with a child at 8 years old, versus 15 or 16, so starting early is critical.
There are important distinctions between a juvenile court hearing and a school board hearing (also referred to as a tribunal). There are also situations where the two proceedings may overlap. Let's take a look at the similarities and differences between juvenile court and school board hearings.
Depending on the jurisdiction (or county, in the instance of juvenile court) where your child is charged, the time frame from the actual incident in question to the first court date may vary.
Don’t drink and drive is an often preached maxim, but one all too often ignored despite the severe penalties that can be imposed. While Georgia’s driving under the influence (DUI) laws appear relatively simple on the basic level–get caught behind the wheel after drinking too much and you will lose your license and be subject to various other penalties and sanctions–the DUI laws are in many ways quite complex and can be difficult to navigate. This holds especially true for drivers under the age of 21 who are charged with DUI, as Georgia and many other states have zero tolerance for drivers younger than age 21 who drive while impaired by alcohol or other substances.
A recent report published by the Youth Advocate Programs Policy & Advocacy Center (YAP) in partnership with John Jay College of criminal justice reveals new insights on how communities can support high-risk youth to keep them out of the criminal justice system. The Safely Home Campaign "is a nationwide movement to safely care for all youth and young adults in their home communities and with their families" (See www.safelyhomecampaign.org).
Kathryn Boortz has a passion for working with youth and their families. She is the founder of Boortz Law, a law firm that focuses on juvenile defense.