I suppose that there are many things I am familiar with from my youth that have made me a bit sturdier person than some people today, because when I read about the lawsuit against the woman harassing the girl online leading to her death, I was dismayed, sorrowful, but also kind of angry that someone would actually waste court time over the situation. It was, after all, something that occurred online – not in the physical world – and there was no chance of the child being caused any physical harm unless she gave out her address.
When I was a kid we were told to suck it up, and believe me, I got that talk many, many times. As someone who was new in school many times, and frequently singled out because of having a different look, or being smarter than most, I took my share of harassment; it was of the physical, in your face, variety. I did not like it; I got knocked around a few times; got hit on the head with a metal box (a lunch pail, for those who remember them) and bled more than a bit because of it.
But I made it through. I survived. That is why when I read stories about virtual harassment I can only be more than a bit surprised that such a big deal is made over it. If someone is harassing another on the computer at a certain site – find a different site to visit! What is the big deal? We are not talking about someone not letting you walk home on the only path in that direction. It is a computer. It can be shut off. That should be the end of it, but in England anyway, that is not enough.
At the behest of Britain’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), Facebook has finally agreed to install a “panic button” application on its site, the social networking service announced today.
Once installed, UK teens will see the app on their homepage indicating “they are in control.”
“By adding this application, Facebook users will have direct access to all the services that sit behind our ClickCEOP button which should provide reassurance to every parent with teenagers on the site,” said Jim Gamble, chief executive of CEOP. “We know from speaking to offenders that a visible deterrent could protect young people online.”
So-called panic buttons, which are already in use on social networking sites Bebo and MySpace, has been a feature Facebook previously felt it could do without. However, the site has been under near constant pressure from the UK following the murder of a teenage girl in 2009 from a Facebook member who posed as a young boy to lure her to her death.
I can see that this could be helpful in some way – but would be totally unnecessary if the parents of these children took some responsibility for the education of how to deal with uncomfortable or (possibly) threatening situations ( there’s always the off switch!).
I wonder how it is that with all the crime that can befall our children today, why any time whatsoever is spent on this kind of (almost) nonsense.