Did Jessi Slaughter’s father think this was parenting, when he went on YouTube with her and threatened the harassers and trolls she had violently threatened too? He certainly made things worse, not better, for her – if his rant was for real (it was laughable to many viewers, based on their comments). The video of the Florida father and daughter, shown at the top of this page at Gawker.com, had been seen by 1.7 million people as of the article’s posting. But it “wasn’t the only thing to go viral: Jessi Slaughter’s real name, address and phone number was distributed widely via Internet pranksters 4chan.org, Tumblr and other online backchannels,” Gawker reports. Jessi, whose own on-camera invective seemed uncharacteristic of an 11-year-old, was now a meme, or Internet phenomenon (like lolcats or rickrolling), and – because of a steady stream of harassing calls to her house, including death threats – she was temporarily placed under police protection, Gawker adds. “She came home today, but she’s not online: A court order has barred her from using the Internet for at least three days” (it took a court order to get her Webcam turned off?). How it all started a little over a week ago is related in a timeline in the blog of parent and Norton Internet Safety Advocate Marian Merritt. This is a sad but opportune story for families to talk about. Some possible talking points (it’s important to be completely nonconfrontational in this discussion, of course) are: Does anybody in this house use a Webcam and – if so – can we talk about what for? It’s definitely not for sharing innermost thoughts, good or bad. But when is videochat good and when can it go bad? If you use a Webcam, do you always know if you’re recorded, where a recording might go or how it could be edited? Same questions about any phone-based video. What kind of behavior caused problems for Jessi? Could this ever happen to you – why/why not? Is there anything good about retaliation, revenge, or threatening people? You get the idea. Families need to have more conversations like this, and this would be one heck of a “current events” story for the classroom, one that can teach about a lot more than the news and popular culture, including cyberbullying and its antidote: citizenship and respect for self and others, online and offline. Here’s coverage at the San Francisco Chronicle and well-timed context in a thoughtful New York Times Magazine piece about a just-held MIT conference on the Internet-memes spectrum, from the lighter, mindless “commodity pop culture” (or “juvenilia”) end to the dark, anonymous cruelty of trolls.
Safer Internet Day 2105
- Cyberbullying is not a joke: Celebrities and public figures can make a difference
- Facebook’s Scrapbook encourages photos of children, but think before you post
- Pew Survey: Reports of Facebook’s demise among teens greatly exaggerated
- Should I worry about my teens texting?
- Chromebooks & Google Apps appeal to schools & consumers
- Raising digital kids: 10 tips for improving parent-teen relationships
- Setting screen-time limits – for parents
- Digital Trust Foundation seeking proposals on digital abuse programs
- Parent bullying: The one-upper society
- What is the best way to introduce screen media to our three-and-a-half-year-old?
- Internet Explorer had a long and important life, but it’s time to move on
- Seven good smartphone security habits
- Arkansas bill puts youth safety and privacy in jeopardy
- Android apps to get age rating and manual review
- Facebook clarifies policies on nudity, hate speech and other community standards