Bullying in the 21st century

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When you hear about a brutal attack and hear some of the names involved - names such as Kayla or April or Brittini - you'd assume those girls were the unfortunate victims.

Certainly not the accused attackers.

But in what Polk County, Fla., Sheriff Grady Judd has described as "animalistic behavior" and "pack mentality," eight teens - six girls and two boys - were arrested for the recent beating of 16-year-old Victoria Lindsay.

Apparently what began as an online spat among former friends led to Victoria being forced into a car and taken to someone else's house, where for 30 minutes Victoria was videotaped being beaten and verbally abused by up to six other teen girls. Two boys are said to have stood outside the house, acting as lookouts.

Police say the intent was to post the beating on YouTube.com, the popular video-sharing site.

All eight teens are facing charges of battery and false imprisonment. Three of the eight also are charged with felony kidnapping, stemming from Victoria being pushed into the car.

What may be more revolting than the attack itself is the attitude of the accused attackers. News reports told of the girls sitting together locked up in the Polk County Jail, talking about the beating.

And they were laughing.

Welcome to this latest glimpse into the dark side of the Information Age.

The Internet has become the No. 1 purveyor of media violence, in the form of homemade videos depicting one-on-one fights, or groups of people ganging up on a single unsuspecting victim.

It's not just violence at the movies or on television that parents have to worry about now. With the easy-to-use technology people now have at their disposal, planning, executing and documenting acts of unrestrained violence has become a sick do-it-yourself hobby. You need little more than a camera phone, an Internet connection and a few people with the cold detachment of wild predators.

The lowlifes who are cranking out this garbage have been desensitized to the disgusting violent acts they've already witnessed on the 'Net. And violence begets violence. As Victoria's father described such misguided teens, "if they create the best shock videos, they're the heroes."

But they're actually the villains.

"Villainous" is an apt description of this soulless crime that police believe was planned with appalling ease through wireless communication and the Worldwide Web. It's bullying in the 21st century.

The people responsible for so savagely attacking Victoria Lindsay deserve the full force of punishment the law allows - and as adults.

This whole episode turns on its head the old phrase "It's 10 o'clock - do you know where your children are?" It's hard enough for parents to keep track of their sons and daughters in the real world. But what about the seemingly bigger and often scarier world of cyberspace?

Parents should carefully guide their kids' online habits. It can be through filtering certain Web sites using security software.

Or you can simply talk with your children about what they see, and why they should or shouldn't.

That's an information filter that has been used successfully for years. It's called good, attentive parenting.

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patriciathomas 04/20/08 - 06:30 am
Parenting is much more then

Parenting is much more then just "keeping track of". It's teaching right and wrong and setting examples every second of every day. Your children will emulate what they see. As they get older, your children need to be kept on track and kept busy. "Idle hands....". Parenting is not a part time job. (why do you think so many are willing to have the government do it for them?) The kids involved in this beat down were filling a void and this type of group action seems to always find the "lowest common denominator". They should be held accountable for their actions and as an unintended consequence, the parents will be held accountable for their inactions.

I4PUTT 04/20/08 - 07:37 am
The gang mentality has been

The gang mentality has been around forever. Cowards perpetuate it. Posting it on the internet is new and shocking because we all get to see it. It's not hidden or isolated. Since these guys are also idiots and have provided the evidence for all to see, the trial should quite short and time served quite long. Have the parents failed? One would think so, but teens are quite rebellious even with the best parents. These parents may be punished enough if the punishment is what I think it should be.

christian134 04/20/08 - 07:40 am
Parents everywhere are waking

Parents everywhere are waking up to realize the children the have given birth to are actually desentized, uncaring individuals with an attitude of "whatever makes me happy and feels good" mentality. Thank God above it is not all our children, afterall they are our future, but there are enough to give pause and wonder where they, parents, went wrong.....In my opinion, I feel it has to do with the baby sitters....baby sitters with names like Computer, unscale Lap Top, Text Messaging, and one of their favorites Unlimited Cable TV access complete with all the nice shows...everything from porn to extreme violence without consequenses channels....These baby sitters have taken the place of good moral behaviors where bad behavior is rarely punished severely and basic living, in their world, has non-existent rules of right and wrong...This narcissistic behavior has frighteningly become the norm...Parents wake up and take back your children....The babies are worth more than all the gold and power in the world....Take responsibility for the rearing back from the "babysitters", put the family unit with God in charge back in it's place...Only then will we see this type of evil behavior lessen..

DeborahElliott2 04/20/08 - 08:16 am
This is called Parental

This is called Parental Control and it works like this, if you bust your kids (and I recommend spying on them) with that website, you get to sell the computer. Or, they have parental control features that allow you to change the password to the computer and prohibit some websites, just add that one to the list. You would be so amazed at how the kids come to you for help.

christian134 04/20/08 - 09:26 am
They are not as dumb as they

They are not as dumb as they would have you believe.....These children are weaned on electronics....Many are being employed by the government to help identiy problems with their computers....It is a problem that will not be solved until people start acting like parents....Parents as in Mom and Dad not everyone else under the sun....Unless Mom's are Dads are having to do the raising alone then there are added problems they are more difficult to solve but they can be solved....

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