Law Offices of Jess C. Bedore III - Certified Specialist in Criminal Law
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Social media poses new juvenile crime threat

If there's one thing everyone knows about kids and teenagers, it's that they are bound to make mistakes. They are young and learning about the world, and part of that inexperience and exploration is the fact that they will stumble and fall. Sometimes this can result in minor issues that can be easily resolved -- but sometimes these mistakes can create major issues that change lives forever.

When you think about this in terms of juvenile crime, the picture becomes much clearer -- and scarier. In this world where Facebook is everywhere, absorbing technological devices are just a pocket away, and everyone is connected in a way like never before, unintended consequences are inevitable.

Consider a recent story where a 13-year-old kid was shot and killed. One of the key elements of this killing was that the 13-year-old and some of his friends used the social media platform Facebook to mock other people with derogatory and inflammatory language. Behind the seemingly-anonymous wall of the internet, people are bound to be more radical with their language and act in a bolder fashion -- especially young kids.

As a result of the online antagonism, a 13-year-old was killed. It's a modern problem that poses a significant danger to kids and families. The ubiquity of social media platforms -- and the information these platforms contain -- make real world confrontation much more likely if the participants are bold enough. And young people are just bold enough to make such a mistake.

So parents, talk to your kids about online decorum, how they should respect others and how to deal with offensive or derogatory comments. Let's try to curb this before it becomes an even greater issue than it already is.

Source: mlive.com, "From Facebook to the streets: How social media is fueling youth violence in Kalamazoo," Aaron Mueller, Aug. 5, 2014

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