Let’s talk about the responsibility of teenagers and young adults in preventing crime in web-based communities like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Orkut etc. The social networking applications named above have many advantages and useful purposes and are used to promote various good causes. But, many good things come with unfortunate downsides as well. Popular social networking applications are being used as a platform for causing emotional distress among youth. In most cases these situations are being caused by the same teenagers and young adults who are also using these social networking applications.
Examples of such activities came to light recently when a concerned mother went to court and sued four teenagers for abusing her son emotionally and causing him a great deal of distress. The mother, Laura Cook, accused the four teenagers of creating a fake Facebook profile using her son’s real name. The profile in question, which at one point listed 580 friends, falsely portrayed Laura Cook’s son as gay and a racist. The profile, which was created using the boy’s real name, included his cell phone number.
This profile was seen by many who knew the boy personally. Many abusive messages were sent to him by other students at his high school. The boy in question was an athlete and belonged to many clubs that he was forced to quit after this incident. The boy’s siblings were also kicked out of various clubs. After an arduous process, the boy’s parents convinced Facebook to delete the profile. Even though the profile has been deleted, Laura Cook filed for defamation charges against the four teenagers who created the profile because the profile had been seen and read by many people and the damage was already done.
Teenagers can be very cruel and can cause pain both for themselves and others. These kids do not realize the extent of the damage their actions may cause to the individual targeted and their families as well. The kind of emotional trauma caused by such incidents can damage a person’s self-esteem in many ways and may lead to suicidal tendencies.
People who want to have fun at the expense of others should realize that they are not only doing things that are immoral but that they are also breaking the law and are spoiling their own future prospects because they are liable for punishment by the law for committing such cowardly acts. There are several methods of tracking misdoings by individuals on the Internet. The Internet Crime Prevention Cell has the means to track down people who commit crimes on the Internet. That is just what happened in the case of these four teenagers who were caught.
October is Crime Prevention Month. To get information on cyberbullying, visit the National Crime Prevention Council’s website. Also, see NCPC's safety tips for Halloween. Citizens and communities can also organize events by taking part in Celebrate Safe Communities initiatives, which take place during Crime Prevention Month and all through the year.