I first became aware of this story Friday morning. It still disturbs me.
A Michigan boy age 11 had a girlfriend age 13. His mother did not approve of the relationship. The 13 year with friends played a prank which was to pretend she killed herself. This was on the social media this was on March 14th. He hung himself. He died last Tuesday from severe brain damage according to other articles.
I remember being on usenet in the 1990s circa early 30s. It was a constant tightrope. People would.just be waiting for the wrong thing one would say and they would flame. There were no mods. A lot did hurt but I learnt to fling back.
Now in the 2000s I was off the boards. I found jezebel then found gt. Still at the beginning I.had a thin skin. Took me a while to grow it back.
I am an adult for gods sake. I still weaved as an adult online. I never created friendships.in the 1990s on usenet.
Yet I imagine for a child how much worse it can be when he interacts with people he knows and his girlfriend he loved. How seeing on the screen it had to be devestating. Adults would have dealt with it as adults and not have killed themselves, well I.hope.
Yet this story comes down to something I find really not quite evil but destructive. I doubt very much her friends would have said to his face “your girlfriend killed herself”. How easy online it is when you do not have to see their face and make the same statement. Just type then click to send. Voila.
The prank itself is beyond cruel. It is reckless and worse is devoid of empathy. Devoid of caring about other’s reactions. With the internet its easier you do not.have to see their reactions, you do not have to look in your victim’s eyes.
For too many folk the internet brings out their worse side although sometimes I wonder if its not their true face. When we interact in real life it forces a civility with the internet its gone. At best it would be an uncontrolable id. Most thankfully there is no difference between their real life and internet interactions.
Yet for some they allow their worse parts of themselves be in control. Yet I fear with the rise of cyberbullying, the sadIstic prank by this 13 year old and her friends, flaming, etc it will totally control how they interact with folks in real life. Although watching those Trump rallies it probably has started.
I do not know what to do with this 13 year old. Its clear she lacks empathy, good judgment and compassion. Still what she did took planning and thought. The boy thought like a child and acted like one on impulse and no sense of the future. Yet she was a child herself. Is there really that much of a maturity difference between 11 and 13. I do not know.
What she is charged with sounds like a technicality. I am not sure if.one. could charge her with reckless manslaughter since it would be hard to prove she should have considered he could die.
This is why young people before 18 should be banned from social media. The education of personal interaction is far more important. At 18 its young enough.