There have been two new developments in the tragic cyberbullying case in Missouri that broke last November (see "Extreme cyberbullying"): 1) Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles are looking at charging the adult neighbor who created the imposter profile that led to the Missouri teen's suicide, the Los Angeles Times reports. "Prosecutors in Missouri said they were unable to find a statute under which to pursue a criminal case." The US Attorney's Office in L.A. believes it has jurisdiction because MySpace is based in Beverly Hills, and - creatively, the Times cites a legal experts as saying - the L.A. prosecutors are exploring charges involving federal wire fraud and cyber fraud because the woman "defrauded MySpace" by creating the imposter account, the Times cites anonymous sources as saying. The First Amendment could be a big hurdle for them, but if they're successful, the case could be groundbreaking because of all the fake profiles people create all over the social Web, for both benign and malicious reasons. 2) The other development, online vigilantism, is described in depth in the Washington Post. Wanting to avenge Megan's death, people have "combed public records online to post photos of Lori and Curt Drew along with heated messages demanding they be held accountable. Satellite images of the house were also posted, along with the Drews' address and phone numbers, and details about where each worked.... What lawmakers couldn't or wouldn't do, virtual vigilantes quickly did," the Post reports. Also at the Post, see this online discussion of the Megan Meier case between readers and Daniel J. Solove, associate law professor at George Washington University and author of "The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor and Privacy on the Internet. Its insightful last Q&A is about virtual mobs and online shaming.
Sexting Primer for Parents: In Case Some Basics Would Help
A lot of sexting numbers have been tossed around the airwaves after four separate national studies. Let’s remember that there are two sets of concerns, here: legal and social, both deserving of respect.
UK: 2 Valuable Views on Net Safety, Part 1
Two milestone documents out of the UK - one requested by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and the other a set of guidelines for social-networking-service best practices - have just been released. Both are relevant wherever young people are online, including in the US, and haven't seen a comprehensive Net-safety report since Web 1.0 days.
Cyberbullying and The Dark Side of 'Flash Mobs'
There seems to be an increasingly uncivil, angry tinge to exchanges between people who disagree and members of opposing political parties on Capitol Hill, the airwaves, and online. Is it possible that all these adults publicly modeling disrespectful, degrading behavior are creating a new, very destructive social norm?
Sexting: New Study and the 'Truth or Dare' Scenario
Three up-to-the-minute developments – fresh data on sexting from Pew/Internet, an important podcast about technology & developmental behavior among teens, and a summit held by the National District Attorneys Association and the National Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse.
What mobile carriers need to do for kids
US cellphone companies have made impressive headway with parental controls lately. That's great in terms of preventive measures, but this country's mobile industry has quite a ways to go, compared with those of some other countries, on support for kids and families after bad stuff happens.
The Latest Technopanic
No comparative study has been done, but - having recently traveled around the world for 10 months and talked with people involved with children's online safety in a number of countries - I can tell you more than impressionistically that no country has experienced an extended technopanic about predators on the social Web quite the way the US has.