Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Digital Tension

The Thanet Gazette has done its readers a service by drawing their attention to the news of violence and intimidation involving Thanet teenagers at www.bebo.com .

It’s bad enough when adults hide behind the anonymity of the web but imagine the impact on young people when threatening and abusive language is used against them and even camera-phone photographs of them being beaten-up.

What strikes is how helpless the police are to deal with this kind of behaviour from the internet. It’s the same everywhere in Europe, young people are using new technology to run rings around the authorities, where legislation can take years to implement and action is slow to non-existent because politicians fail to realise the implications and law-enforcement has other, more pressing priorities.

“Digital” tension is an expression I used at the EU conference in Lyon over the last three days to describe the relationship between Europe, the United States and China but it also has a place in describing the relationship between the generations where the internet is concerned.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I must admit I was quite interested in the article which I read whilst waiting to pay for my copy of the snoozepaper at Tescos in Cliftonville.
I didn't actually get to pay for it as the queue was so long that I had read anything worth reading in the entire rag before getting to the checkout - so I put it back on the shelf.
Anyway, went onto bebo.com and registered, then went and had a look at the Hartsdown pages. They have a marijuana smoking day scheduled amidst other topics on display.
Interesting! And this is the school which calls me from time to time wanting me to give work experience to their pupils.
I don't think thats going to be happening anytime soon - unless I start a new business in horticulture.

Anonymous said...

Police often run 'sting' operations - there is a fellow on television who provides great viewing of criminals being nicked when they believe they are attending a prize giving. The police can do the same here. Using their own words - Ignorance is no excuse! - Police should make themselves more knowledgeable about the Internet and places just like BEBO and they could then lure these people out into the open if only to identify them! Make the forum a place feared to go and brag about your exploits. Unfortunately the police are 1. a dull lot with little imagination 2. Under funded so a prolonged sting operation would cost too much and 3. they rely on quick measureable results for their statistics (because that is all they are worried about) If they were to quietly get the confidence of these people on line and then organise an event at a particular time and place they would be within their rights to photo and interview each person who showed up and then examine their homes and hard drives. Fight fire with fire!