16 year old faces year in jail for setting up Facebook page
A schoolgirl in Virginia, USA faces a fine and up to a year in jail for setting up a Facebook page.
The public page created to insult her classmates at Stonewall Jackson High School, was called “Stonewall Hoes,” Virginia police said.
It featured pictures of other underage girls in her year and “lewd” comments about them that have landed the teenager with a charge of harassment by computer which carries a potential yearlong prison sentence.
It sounds like a nasty case of cyber-bullying that deserves to be punished, but the weight of the sentence once again draws attention to the problems of social media and the law, a hot area recently due to several court cases about opinions expressed on Twitter.
For teenagers the divide between public and private on social media is still blurred so it’s a hard area for authorities to police – in order to both protect kids from each other but also their own actions which they may well come to regret later. Many insults that previously would have been shouted across the locker room are now stored up in digital archives and on public websites – pushing kid stuff into the public domain.
Even granted that US law is more severe than over here in Europe, that’s a harsh punishment for playground insult.
Related: Google CEO tells teenagers they might want to change their name to escape digital past[via Chicago Sun-Times]
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Freedom of speech? Is it “harassment by computer” if the statements are true? Really? Seriously? You can insult someone verbally to no end, but if you do it with a computer and still attend school they throw in the word “bully” and arrest you with a possibility of a year in prison.
That is a very sad news but I know it is for better and it has a good lesson. We should be careful and responsible in using social networking sites such as facebook. Facebook is created to have more friends, search for a friends or relatives, it is also use to advertise your product or services and not to harm people. Facebook should review its privacy to secure the people because there are many fake accounts.
Let’s stop making excuses for teenagers. At the age of 16, he knew the difference between right and wrong and intentionally tried to ruin several girls reputations. He committed crime and should be punished accordingly.