There should be punishment, but five years of jail is extremely harsh. I’m sure these children did not intend for this child to go out and commit suicide.
The quote above came from a student at Rutgers University, published in this article in the New York Times after a fellow student committed suicide after his “college roommate had spied on him from another room with a webcam as he kissed a male friend.”
Is it harsh? I’m not so sure. It depends on what we’re willing to do (interpret we as “us” our “society“) to further educate youth on the implications of publishing their lives and those of their friends on the web… or to further regulate how and where they publish their lives on the web.
The thing about life is we often don’t know how much something we do, meant as a harmless prank, ends up hurting those we didn’t intentionally mean to hurt. The thing about the internet is we never know how far something we do reaches until it’s picked up and goes viral. The two in combination… well, my heart is wrenching at the outcomes.
Our entire society is in a very experimental phase. We’ve created a technology that we don’t fully understand the implications of using. Everyone’s got free reign. Everyone’s in the driver’s seat. There aren’t any rules, and as much as it’s been exciting to see the developments and the innovation come out of it, we’re also paying a price.
To date, I’ve been an advocate of an uncensored internet. While I maintain that content on the web should remain uncensored, I think it’s time some controls were put in place for those allowed to publish content to the web.
We have the ability as a community to create the rules and regulations necessary to prevent much of what’s being done. It’s ludicrous to think we don’t have any control.
Maybe the ability to publish content becomes a privilege rather than a right. Much like you need to pass an exam to earn the right to drive, or must reach a certain age before being able to drink or purchase alcohol… perhaps too, we should require individuals to have a license of sorts before publishing content online.
There are enough of us now who understand the implications, the reach, and the potential severity of our actions online that others (read government) can rely on to make that call.
When is enough ENOUGH? Hasn’t enough harm been done?