Teens Sued over Obscene Facebook Page

October 7, 2009 at 4:36 pm 3 comments

Four Chicago teens are facing a defamation lawsuit over a fake Facebook page they created for a teammate. The four teens created the fake Facebook profile page using their victim’s real name and cell phone number. Once the profile was up, they proceeded to post sexually explicit and racist comments on it, appearing to come from their victim, who they also portrayed as gay. By the time the profile was deleted, the four teens had amassed 580 friends on the fake profile. The mother of the victim, who lobbied Facebook to delete the profile, is now suing the four teens for defamation and emotional stress.

I think we can all agree that this type of behavior is unacceptable and that the boys who did this should be punished in some way. However, who will actually pay the price for their behavior? Their parents. If these four boys are found guilty, their parents will be paying damages.

This example shows that it is not just the kids involved who are affected by cyberbulling—whole families can suffer as a result. This lawsuit highlights the importance of talking to your children about ethical online behavior. Many teens think that they can get away with anything under the cloak of anonymity that the internet provides, but they are wrong. In fact, there are many ways that your identity can be tracked down over the internet, and that’s just what happened to these boys.

As technology progresses, and people begin to carry their internet identity around with them through cyberspace, the illusion of anonymity will breaking down further and further. It is important to start educating your children while they are young about appropriate online behavior (for example, check out Woogi World, a social media environment built to teach elementary school age kids about ethical and safe online behavior). Remember, if your son or daughter is being the bully, you could be the one to pay.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. lawyermommy  |  October 7, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    The laws should be broadened to include adults as well. Try getting a court order to reveal the individuals behind online pseudonyms and be amazed.

    When a lawyer has this much difficulty in rounding up online scumbag criminals, it is obvious there is a big problem.

    LM
    http://theblindspotsofgod.wordpress.com/

    Reply
  • 2. morningerection  |  October 7, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    If they were my children, I’d have to make them get a job and all the money would go toward and financial backlash. Bullying of any kind is not acceptable.

    Reply
  • 3. Cindi Clinton  |  October 12, 2009 at 12:25 am

    I think the parents *should* be responsible. These are minor children who are supposed to be under the care and supervision of adults, namely THEIR PARENTS.

    If the parents have any sense, they will do as the above poster mentioned and make them get jobs to reimburse the parents for all the financial trouble they caused. I think the children should be mandated to do community service, educating the public and other teens as to proper online behavior and safety. They should also have to publicly apologize and shouldn’t be allowed to use social media for x-amount of time.

    Reply

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