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Facebook Comment Prompts Arrests In Cyberbullying Suicide Case 734

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-only-facebook-comments-prompted-proper-parenting dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The NY Times reports on the arrests of two girls, ages 12 and 14, who allegedly harassed another 12-year-old girl who committed suicide. The girls are facing third-degree felony charges, and the police involvement was spurred by a comment on Facebook by the older of the two. 'In Internet shorthand it began "Yes, ik" — I know — "I bullied Rebecca nd she killed herself." The writer concluded that she didn't care, using an obscenity to make the point and a heart as a perverse flourish. Five weeks ago, Rebecca Ann Sedwick, a seventh grader in Lakeland in central Florida, jumped to her death from an abandoned cement factory silo after enduring a year, on and off, of face-to-face and online bullying. ... Brimming with outrage and incredulity, the sheriff said in a news conference on Tuesday that he was stunned by the older girl's Saturday Facebook posting. But he reserved his harshest words for the girl's parents for failing to monitor her behavior, after she had been questioned by the police, and for allowing her to keep her cellphone.'"
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Facebook Comment Prompts Arrests In Cyberbullying Suicide Case

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  • This (Score:5, Interesting)

    by barlevg (2111272) on Wednesday October 16, 2013 @08:14AM (#45141617)

    But he reserved his harshest words for the girl's parents for failing to monitor her behavior

    Children are sociopaths until they learn better / their frontal lobes finish developing. It's the parents who are at fault here.

    • Re:This (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 16, 2013 @08:22AM (#45141667)

      Not all children are like that, and many adults are themselves sociopaths.

      It's the parents who are at fault here.

      Hardly.

      • Science has long proven that what parent.parent said is true. Children's brain develop. That is why - except for maybe in parts of the US and the Internet public - children are not charged as adults in court. You can easily Google some interesting lectures etc. on this topic. Not that common sense wouldn't have told our grandparents - today everything needs a "scientific study" unless it already serves our worst, lowest instincts, in which case any stupid comment is accepted as true.

    • Re:This (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ClassicASP (1791116) on Wednesday October 16, 2013 @08:39AM (#45141817)
      I agree with the frontal lobe thing. I remember being bullied in Junior High. Some of my worst years in life were spent there. I don't like going back there because it brings back bad memories. I feel bad for kids going through the same thing because I'm sure technology has made the experience much worse today than it was back in my day. The truth is that kids have their own little privately-run societies in school (on a social plane) that the adults are quite powerless to have any real control over. And by granting them access to the internet, they wield a weapon that can be used to cause great harm to one another on that plane. Perhaps the internet should be regulated like Alcohol and Tobacco, where access is permitted only once a certain age of maturity has been reached. Not that I condone smoking or claim that setting an age limit has prevented drunk driving, but think of where we would be today had we legalized those kinds of things for minors. We've let them use the internet, and this "bullying" epidemic is what it has led up to. Perhaps change is in order and this is one of those lessons that should go in the history textbooks.
      • Re:This (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AlphaWoIf_HK (3042365) on Wednesday October 16, 2013 @08:42AM (#45141859)

        Perhaps the internet should be regulated like Alcohol and Tobacco, where access is permitted only once a certain age of maturity has been reached.

        Not only would that be completely unenforceable, but it's also an awful, draconian idea.

        We've let them use the internet, and this "bullying" epidemic is what it has led up to.

        So you suggest that we punish everyone (in a certain group) because of some bullies and an imaginary epidemic. Not sure I agree.

        • Re:This (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Kohath (38547) on Wednesday October 16, 2013 @10:23AM (#45142839)

          So you suggest that we punish everyone (in a certain group) because of some bullies and an imaginary epidemic.

          Just like we do with alcohol, tobacco, firearms, pot, and not buying overpriced health insurance. Can we all finally agree that it's wrong to have the government punish the innocent?

      • Re:This (Score:5, Interesting)

        by msauve (701917) on Wednesday October 16, 2013 @09:16AM (#45142159)
        Or instead, maybe simply expect parents to be responsible parents, instead of dual-income welfare providers.
      • Re:This (Score:5, Informative)

        by dfenstrate (202098) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `etartsnefd'> on Wednesday October 16, 2013 @09:20AM (#45142183)

        The truth is that kids have their own little privately-run societies in school (on a social plane) that the adults are quite powerless to have any real control over.

        You can find similar social structures in prisons, which calls into question the fundamental design of the public school system.

        The kid's presence there is largely wasted effort, so they invent oft-destructive social games to use up their intellect and energy. This suggests that making school more rigourous & purposeful.

        Specifically:

        1) more difficult academics for the kids that can take it

        2) meaningful job training in later grades for those whose interests lie elsewhere

        We also need to nuke 'no child left behind' and anything that looks like it, so we can acknowledge that different children have different interests & capabilities, and handle them accordingly.

        • I would also add that we need smaller classrooms. It's easy to get distracted when the teacher has to give a generic lecture for 30+ kids. When I was in high school we'd play euchre in most classes and the teachers wouldn't even know. Some kids would chew dip, some kids would sleep. It just wasn't possible for the teachers to ensure that everyone was doing something constructive or paying attention. Class size is one of the most important distinctions between a crappy school and a good one, and unfortunatel

          • I just listened to Malcolm Gladwell's latest book (I forget the title), and he makes the point that a small class size is also a detriment to learning. Apparently the ideal class size is 18-24 students- too few and the classroom energy goes down and the students are like siblings in the back of a car.
    • Exactly correct. Children are not adults, just smaller and with less knowledge. That was society's idea of children when we were total know-nothings. Their brains are not fully developed, specifically the evolutionarily late the part of their brains which can process real morality- your frontal cortex, which represses, transmutes, modifies and finally governs the other more primitive parts of your brain- the amygdala especially. The amygdala is well developed in children and is the center for aggression,

  • Yeah, right ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday October 16, 2013 @08:16AM (#45141629) Homepage

    But he reserved his harshest words for the girl's parents for failing to monitor her behavior, after she had been questioned by the police, and for allowing her to keep her cellphone.

    Most parents can't or don't monitor what their kids do on the internet, and most parents are under the belief their child is a little angel who would never do something like this (or consider it to be 'normal' childhood stuff).

    I suspect most parents do not have the kind of control over their kids this sheriff thinks, and likely aren't that interested anyway.

    From what I've seen, most parents are either clueless or turn a blind eye to the fact that their kids are rotten little bastards.

    • Re:Yeah, right ... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by darrellg1 (969068) on Wednesday October 16, 2013 @08:25AM (#45141689)
      Most parents expect others to parent their kids.

      FTFY
    • Re:Yeah, right ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday October 16, 2013 @08:27AM (#45141713) Homepage

      "Most parents can't or don't monitor what their kids do on the internet, BECAUSE THEY ARE TOO LAZY"

      FTFY

      • Re:Yeah, right ... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by nblender (741424) on Wednesday October 16, 2013 @10:49AM (#45143109)

        I have put lots of effort into monitoring my son's internet usage... I started with a socks5 proxy and a crowdsourced whitelist/blacklist.. He figured out how to bypass proxy settings. I've tried legislation... I've even set up my cisco switch to duplicate packets from his network port (and the wifi basestation) to a packet capture host filtering on his traffic... By the time he was 10 years old; he had learned how to disable dhcp and give himself a static address. He'd learned how to disable the proxy. He'd broken in to the neighbors wifi access point to bypass my network completely. He's not trying to do anything nefarious (that I know of); he's just a problem solver... If the firewall is a problem, he'll solve it. He's 12 now. If we take away his computers, ipad, ipod, cellphone, etc... He finds them in the middle of the night... We've reverted to education about the dangers and pitfalls. Ultimately, it's better to teach your child to make smart choices than to micromanage and microlegislate them... I'm not saying my son is smarter than I am, I'm saying he will find a way to get around whatever obstacles I put up... Every child is unique. I have friends with kids who happily stay within the constraints of 'parental controls' settings. My son got past those when he was 8.

        • Why does your kid have a computer, ipad, ipod, and cellphone? More specifically, why do you continue to let him have them after he's repeatedly rebelled against you? Have you tried selling all of them and disconnecting the internet from your house, then reintroducing them when he's learned to behave?

          Parenting is only affective when you're consistent.

    • Re:Yeah, right ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Wednesday October 16, 2013 @08:31AM (#45141741)

      their kids are rotten little bastards

      Or, possibly, the parents are big rotten little bastards.

    • Don't have the kind of control? You mean they can't cancel the phone subscription? You mean they can't lock the kid in a room and take away the phone? You mean they can't beat the kid senseless? What?
      • Re:Yeah, right ... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday October 16, 2013 @08:48AM (#45141903) Homepage

        Don't have the kind of control? You mean they can't cancel the phone subscription? You mean they can't lock the kid in a room and take away the phone? You mean they can't beat the kid senseless? What?

        Well, no, they can't beat the kid senseless. Mommy and Daddy would have a nice visit from the cops if they did it, and the kids bloody well know that.

        Ever seen a parent negotiating with their child to try to get them to do something? One gets the distinct impression that a lot of kids wield a lot more power than their parents do, and the parents try very hard to beg, plead, or bribe their kids into doing something.

        I've seen a lot of parents who apparently can't control their 5 year old -- by the time those kids are teenagers I suspect those same parents have very little ability to control them.

        So, no, I'm not entirely convinced that the parents wield nearly as much authority as you believe.

  • Editors, please. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Saei (3133199) on Wednesday October 16, 2013 @08:17AM (#45141635)
    From TFA: "Both were charged with aggravated stalking." Not sure why this was omitted from the summary, and only the vague "third-degree felony charges" term used. Combined with the somewhat misleading title, implying that it was only facebook comments that got these girls in trouble, it's disappointing link-baiting.
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday October 16, 2013 @08:26AM (#45141703) Homepage

    ....a Early teen girl.

    And yes this is 100% fact, I raised my daughter though the hell that is Midddle school and high school, Satan himself is a nice guy compared to teenage girls and the heartless crap they do to others.

  • by BlacKSacrificE (1089327) on Wednesday October 16, 2013 @08:38AM (#45141813)
    I feel this is a behavioral bump in the road that may disappear as my generation becomes the parental generation.

    I am 30 years old. I remember a pre-WWW world (I deliberately say WWW to differentiate from chats, BBS etc, which was largely inaccessible to all but the greasiest of geeks). I have grown with the technology, and know its potential and pitfalls. My parents however have no idea of either. They got all my hand-me-down computers, they appreciated my efforts to educate them. Because I was around fro the pre WWW, analogies were easy. I knew how the postal system worked, I could easily analogise POP mail etc. But they do not know the full potential. They look up their recipes, history of [subject] info, and IMDB pages, harass and embarrass me on fakebook, but they never really matured with the technology, and never had to suffer the pitfalls. It was just suddenly there, and they shat bricks, because it was like nothing they had ever seen, and they didn't understand the dynamics. They adapted, but never understood.

    I feel as my generation become the parents and out kids hit those preteen/teen years (maybe 10-15 years), the problems will go away, because we will be capable of not only being able to give good advice on troll evasion and shaming, but we will also be in a far better position to adequately monitor, and mentor, about what actually happens on the internet. We know what to look for, we know how to find it, and we know how to deal with it. Not all of my generation are savvy enough to do it, but a greater percentage of us are, as compared to the current crop of 40-50 year old who had this thrust on them by their kids demanding internet connections and fondletoys to use on them.

    I feel for that girl, and her parents who were blindsided by and lost a child to a technology they had to scramble to understand. I feel for the parents of the aggressors for not knowing just how serious the shit their kids were doing. I hope and feel that my generation will be more capable than them.
  • Transference of blame anybody?
    • Well at least it looks like they are only going after them for stalking, and not for murder or not caring that she died on a FB post.
      Unfortunately, the death is sure to increase the sentence.

  • Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ErichTheRed (39327) on Wednesday October 16, 2013 @09:06AM (#45142075)

    I'm noticing a lot of "waah, little baby can't handle a little teasing" posts. This is /. -- who wasn't mercilessly picked on in junior high/high school??

    I'm a new parent of two kids and am not looking forward to helping them navigate the new Facebook bullying world. One of them is a girl too, so I'm sure it's going to be worse for her. I think the bad thing about it is that those of us who really got a lot of abuse in school would be able to go home and tune it out. With cell phones, Facebook and all that stuff, you can't ever escape.

    One thing I do see a lot of lately is a backlash against PC and just being nice to people. Not being an ass isn't PC, it's just being a good human. Parents should teach their children this, but unfortunately no one is giving out parenting licenses (yet.) I think that would be a big help in solving the behavior problems of kids -- reining in their idiot parents. (And no, I'm no super genius parent, but watching typical 7 year olds having a screaming match with their parents complete with creative expletives makes me wonder whether I'm doing something right.

  • by rbanzai (596355) on Wednesday October 16, 2013 @12:07PM (#45143971)

    People defend bullies and call a 12 year old suicide a "coward." It disgusts but does not surprise me:

    1. ... that people want bullying to be considered protected speech.
    2. ... that the bullied are expected to physically beat down their tormentors or else they must deserve what they get.
    3. ...that some poor child that is so desperate that they kill themselves is branded a coward.

    Human society will always raise up the violent and support their efforts to eliminate the weaker members as if we're all animals and need to cull impure genes from our species. We are no more advanced than we were 2,000 years ago, just a loose collection of intelligent, slavering beasts in business suits and yoga pants.

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