Students from D.C. Everest High School in Weston and Mosinee High School in Mosinee, both in Wisconsin, face criminal charges after a gang initiation beating was video taped and posted to Facebook. This is another sad story of teens gone wrong and misguided internet usage, this time with a twist.
For parents and teens out there, it is worth noting that, according to Captain Clay Schulz of the Everest Metro Police Department, the Wisconsin police are now routinely checking Facebook as part of criminal investigations. According to a Wisconsin Public Radio article, Clay went on to say:
“This type of particular behavior with the gang solicitation is very rare. But Facebook is becoming a pretty good tool for law enforcement. When we do any investigation, it’s something that we always seek out. You’ll see young adolescent males smoking marijuana. Yeah, it’s astonishing. I’m pretty amazed at what is put on there and I don’t think they realize that this is being broadcast everywhere. Anybody can have access to this, including the police.”
The twist? The high school student who videotaped the beating was a girl who was not involved in it, but merely a bystander. And she will also face criminal charges.
It goes without saying that any beating is a bad thing, and while it’s time for teens and parents to wise up to the risks of using Facebook, or any internet site, to post damaging content, this is also a great example of the Bystander Effect. The world would be a better place if kids were less interested in becoming internet-famous by posting scandalous videos, and more interested in being good citizens and effecting positive change.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.