Sorry to come off like the old curmudgeon that I am surely becoming but I was discussing two stories with some friends this week and came to the conclusion that kids nowadays don't know the meaning of the word boundaries or don't have a good idea where they should be set.
The stories were the suicide of the Rutgers student whose sexcapades had been put online by his roommate and the sexual assault of a teenager at a party in Vancouver where photos ended up on Facebook. In both cases stuff ie videos, photos etc that shouldn't have been put online somehow found their way there.
Now these are two separate stories and in both cases the persons who placed the offending articles are before the court system and rightly so as their actions have led to a lot of pain and in the case of the Rutgers student death. My argument though is that even if the acts were committed deliberately in an effort to embarrass or ridicule the victims I think that they may be cases where the culprits just didn't know the law or where moral boundaries should lie. Some will argue that the perpetrators were just callous, heartless criminals but I think there is a possibility that naivety and cluelessness played at least a small part in the acts.
Take the Vancouver case. Kids nowadays share so much information on Facebook/twitter/Youtube/text messages etc etc (too much most of the time) that I believe that the accused probably thought that he was being cute by putting up the photos that he did on Facebook. I'm assuming he didn't realize a crime (the assault) was being committed and that it was also a crime to post photos of stuff like that online.
Same thing with the roommate who posted video of his roommate's intimate moments. I don't believe he thought he was doing anything wrong. I mean he probably knew it was wrong to tape his roommates exploits but then to share them online he probably just thought whatever. Morally wrong but funny yes not criminally wrong he probably didn't know until he got charged after the murder.
I know growing up we were taught (sometimes at the end of a belt) that ignorance of the law is no excuse which I interpret to mean that even if it wasn't explicitly spelled out in the rules or you didn't know the rules, you still should have had some moral understanding that your actions were wrong or that you were crossing boundaries. I think that's lacking in many of today's youth.
I think some of these kids are not only completely ignorant of the law but in a society that seems to push sharing everything regardless of how personal, they really don't see anything wrong with certain morally questionable actions that previous generations would have balked at.
Interestingly enough it appears as if in the Rutgers case even the now dead roommate didn't realize that a crime was being perpetrated against him. He knew something was a bit wrong with his roommate trying to tape him doing his thing but as evidenced from some online questions that he asked he didn't realize he was at that point actually the victim of a crime.
The kids these days are ignorant of the law and lack the ability to make a moral judgment in this society.
Technology has made the ability to take and share a photo or video extremely easy. No statement is truer these days than this one from Rockwell's 1984 hit: "I always feel like somebody's watching me, and I have no privacy." Remember we used to be scared of big brother watching us? Well now there is no need to worry about big brother because little brother and sister have you in dead their sights as well and you really cant get away from the intrusions that they propagate against you in public and sometimes as in this case in private.
Whats the reason? Well first off the technology is readily available to do it.
Also probably starting from childhood we're rushing our kids to adulthood. More responsibility, involving them in big people situations from young and not setting boundaries there and not teaching them the proper morals. This carries over to the teenage years and adulthood where anything goes.
And sadly this is the norm now rather than the exception. Reality TV/blogs/live streaming show every detail of our lives and combined with our shaky moral ground stuff like these stories may happen more and more.