The mostly official blog of the Hodges Partnership.
October 01, 2010 | by Jon Newman
On Monday, I'm speaking at the Virginia Statewide Parent Education Coalition annual conference, the topic is all things social media including issues like privacy and new technologies. So I'm been giving a great deal of thought to those issues this week.
This at a time when my alma mater, Rutgers University, is making national headlines for all the wrong reasons. This week, two university students were first charged in connection with broadcasting online a private sexual encounter between two young men. One of those young men, 18-year-old freshman, Tyler Clementi, later committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.
One of those charged in the incident, Dharun Ravi, was Clementi's roommate, allegedly not only captured and broadcast the encounter online, he also allegedly tweeted about it bringing it to the attention of countless others.
Those of you who know me, know of my love for my alma mater and how much it pains me and others associated with Rutgers to see this terrible incident lead national newscasts and headline papers and websites. It comes at an especially ironic time as the university kicked off a campaign for civility on campus.
If any good can come of this, it will no doubt serve as "the" cautionary tale for the YouTube generation. As parents, communicators and technology first adopters it is out responsibility now more than ever to teach the rights and wrongs of civility and privacy. This is especially critical at a time when any one of us, including a 18 year olds who have been brought up with the idea that anyone can whip out their phone, shoot a picture or video and immediately post it without thought of the possible fall out.
Social media can and is used for social good. It also has the potential to be used for social destruction.
In every generation there are bullies, those who go out of their way to make fun, or just plain mean kids and teens who then grow up to be mean adults. This generation finally has the technological tools at its disposal to kick mean and irresponsible to a whole new level.
We who know better need to lead by example, we need to teach them that there needs to be a filter. Or unfortunately more people will be scarred for life, or will be given tribute in death.