Taping beating shocks teens

YouTube is a popular site to share and watch videos, but a recently posted video showed the dark side to the Web site.


Eight teenagers from the Lakeland, Fla., area were involved in a taped beating of another female classmate, which was posted on YouTube.

Teens in the Augusta area gave their opinion on the issue.

"It's absolutely crazy," said Jessie Stouder, 18, a senior at Greenbrier High.

Meredith Thomason, 16, a sophomore at John S. Davidson Fine Arts School, agreed: "It is crazy someone would do that to another person, and then have the nerve to post it for everyone else to see."

Posting acts of violence or illicit activity on sites such as MySpace or YouTube seems to give some people a sick sense of pride.

"The Internet can be a great resource, but it can also be a dangerous outlet for people who abuse it," said Mitchell Hauff, 16, a sophomore at Lakeside High School.

How much of a dangerous outlet could the Internet be?

"I think the Internet has encouraged people to do things that will get them attention online. Some of those things can dangerous and violent," Meredith said.

Jessie agreed, saying, "Everyone wants bragging rights."

The question is, though: Is the Internet sparking bad behavior among teens, or has the location of the bad behavior just moved from frat houses and locker rooms to the World Wide Web?

The Internet isn't the only form of technology that is affecting the way teens see things, Meredith said. Still:

"I think that violence and the Internet are directly correlated. Especially now, kids are watching random, unrated videos online at an early age, and they're learning from them. It's teaching them this is how most people act, and that sticks with them."

Jessie said the issue lies more with TV and video games than the Internet.

Either way, teens agreed that technology's impact on the way people act is growing.

Some teens think this YouTube incident isn't the last we'll see of Internet abuse.

"And it's something that won't happen just once," said Samantha Shore, 17, a junior at Greenbrier High.

When it comes to fitting the punishment with the crime, teens had differing opinions.

The teenagers involved in the beating, ranging from 14 to 18 years old, were set to be tried as adults, which could earn them life sentences.

"I think they're kids who made a stupid, cruel mistake. So don't try them as adults, because they're not. Therapy? Yes. Long-term jail? No," Jessie quipped.

Samantha said some sort of therapy is what those teenagers need, but she wouldn't mind if they could cool their heels in a jail for some time, "This incident is not something you can just let it go."

Michael Ryan is a sophomore at Greenbrier High School.



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