The recent suicide of the Rutgers student has once more pushed the needle of our moral compass to the levels of outrage and moral indignation. The prosecutor is asking for a 10 year prison sentence, parents are outraged and the school is mortified for more than one reasons.
The fact is that our technological advances are speeding with such a velocity that have left our ability to emotionally integrate these changes and their repercussions in every day living in a blinding dust of confusion and ignorance.
The fact is that as parents, schools and society we have all failed both the kid who saw death as the only way out of humiliation and those who thought that their prank was innocent and harmless.
As a citizen and a tax payer I would like to know where the mandatory classes are, from Kindergarten to undergraduate levels, which teach our youth how to balance their right to free speech with someone else’s right to privacy. Young people think nothing of exposing every aspect of their lives as well as someone else’s on the world wide web for everyone to use and abuse. I would like see in the kids’ grammar and high school curricula classes on the Safe Use of Internet. I would like to see mandatory college courses on Ethics In The Age of Internet.
If we are assuming that we can de facto apply the ethical, moral and legal code of 50 years ago or even a decade ago to today’s technology we are dangerously naïve and if we expect our kids to figure it out on their own we are foolish and need to wake up before it is too late.
The internet is a powerful tool and in the hands of a notoriously immature and impulsive group, such as teenagers, can as we have already seen be deadly. Today’s culture encourages and rewards kids and teens to turn their lives into an open book. The same teen that would have a temper tantrum if the parent went into her draw will not think twice putting her whole daily itinerary including pictures of herself in all compromising positions on Facebook.
It takes a village to raise a kid especially in the age of information. Parents and schools have the responsibility of teaching our kids that with the freedom and power to publish what they want whenever they want comes a great deal of responsibility.