Thursday, March 21, 2013

Another Teaching Moment From Steubenville

There was an article in my morning newspaper about two girls from Steubenville who were clearly unhappy that the two football players who raped and humiliated a 16 year year old girl were being punished. To help them work through their anger, these two high school girls decided that the victim of the rape should be punished for telling the truth, and threatened her via twitter. Luckily, the tweets were read by a concerned person worried for the safety of the rape victim, and reported these posted threats. The two girls were arrested and charged with intimidation of a victim, telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing.

These are very serious charges, even charged as juveniles, these girls could be sentenced to juvenile detention until age 21. Teens are just not getting it. Threatening to hurt someone is a crime. Threatening to hurt someone on social media is a bad crime. And a crime that can be easily validated. A written record is a written record.

Many teens get caught up in the drama of friendships. Someone talked behind someone's back, someone talked to someone's girlfriend or boyfriend, someone spread rumors about someone else, etc etc etc. Revenge is so easy nowadays, just whip open the phone, or the computer, and put out in the universe the fantasy of what you would like to do to the person who wronged you.

Teens and betrayal has been in issue since the beginning of time. This is not new news. Because teens live in the emotional part of the brain, they do not shrug off these perceived wrongs. In the past you would gossip about it, lie in bed and dream about all the horrible things you would do to this person, and write about it in your diary. But that is as far as it would go. Now with the ability to say it to the world, and humiliate your nemesis in the public twitterverse, a teen can feel enormous satisfaction. Most teens are really just spouting venom with no real intention of doing harm. But in the times we now live in, threats will be taken seriously. Teens will be arrested, and teens will be punished. Please use this story as a teaching lesson. Using this "I get it" moment. "I get you get pissed at people in your life and I know there may be times where you just want to say something on facebook or twitter that is really bad and scary and embarrassing to get back at someone you feel has screwed you. First an "eye for an eye" is a very mean-spirited way to deal with a situation. It brings you down to the level of that jerk, and secondly it can be misinterpreted by anyone reading what you put out there. You are putting your own freedom in jeopardy. Just ask these two girls!"

1 comment:

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