15 Year Old Girl Suspended For Fake Suicide Facebook Video
6 minutes cost a 15 year old girl 5 days of suspension. Are kids today living in an environment that is too “public”? And what are the consequences?
15 year-old Jessica Barba was doing a class project, one assigned that asked students to choose an important and relevant social issue, bullying, namely cyberbullying.
In order to make an impact and connect her classmates and instructor to the issue she chose, she decided to create a fake Facebook profile of a 12 year old girl, named Hailey, whose mother died when she was 3 years old, grew up being abused by her father and was bullied on her Facebook page. Here is the twist though, this fake 12 year old girl ends up killing herself.
Despite the disclaimers about the video being ficitonal alongside the Facebook page as well, the school still suspended Jessica for 5 days, mainly because of its portrayed realism that could have been taken seriously. The question is then, should Jessica have been punished for illuminating a truly disturbing but ever-relevant issue such as bullying and cyberbullying? Let’s take a deeper look at the issue.
The advent of the “Share First, Think Later” generation is upon parents. Kids today are growing up in a digital environment that is unfair. Their actions could have immense consequences just like Jessica, where a school project posted to Facebook earned her a national news story. Kids aren’t aware of the potential damage the Internet can cause their reputation, lives and Parent’s lives, even their school record like in Jessica’s case. This type of situation is a parent’s nightmare, but it can be prevented.
Starting early by educating your children about the Internet and monitoring their online activity can help prevent a situation similar to Jessica’s. Having constant dialogue about responsibility and the consequences of the public and permanent nature of the Internet will ensure that your kids will use the Internet responsibly and safely. Safe Eyes software can help monitor online activity, even social networks, providing useful information to parents to prevent unwanted or unsafe online behaviors.
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