‘Teenage hell’: What to do

What is it going to take to convince teens of how important it is to think about the impact mean behavior can have online? For example, just annoyed with a high school friend, three teens "placed an ad in [the 15-year-old's] name soliciting sex with men, listing his home phone number," the San Jose Mercury News reports. They also somehow "hacked into his MySpace profile" and changed it to say he was gay. People answered the ad at his house, reaching his is sister and mom. "Mortified, angry and distraught," the boy dropped out of school. The article cites the view of some school officials who say they're not sure the Net is increasing the amount of bullying, but rather that it's providing a "paper trail." Young people just don't realize that they're not as anonymous as they think they are. And that's exactly what can help them think before they're mean online. For example, the Mercury News refers to the shock felt by "some students at one San Jose middle school who created a MySpace 'slut list' of 23 girls and asked viewers to submit comments. Within 36 hours the site was shut down, and the culprits discovered." As for the boys who took out the abusive ad above: Working with police, officials at their school them found them out. They "were tried and sentenced to probation and community service. They also had to write an essay about the pain they caused."

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