COM0011-521: “You’re Banned from Social Media!!!”

Yesterday, a Nova Scotia (NS) Crown attorney asked a judge to kick a 15-year-old girl off social media as part of her sentencing after she pleaded guilty to a “brutal” assault that was filmed and posted on Facebook.

cyber bullying keypadYou’d have to be living under a rock to have not heard of the rise of cyber bullying in Canada and the US.  Mostly girls, examples of teens that succumbed to the online bullying include high profile cases like Amanda Todd , a 15-year old from British Columbia (BC), and Rehtaeh Parsons, the 17-year old from NS, both of whom committed suicide after repeated online or cyber bullying.

Another case involves a 15-year old girl from NS who was charged after a female student — with autism — was punched at school earlier this year.

“It was a planned attack. It was lunchtime, the accused stood and waited for the victim to come through the hall at lunchtime, stated her name and then sucker punched her, knocked her on the floor and proceeded to grab her by the hair and kick her in the head and facial area,” said Steve Drake, the Crown attorney. “It all happened in approximately 10 to 12 seconds. It was brutal.”

As horrible as this was, it was the actions of a second student who filmed the assault and posted it on Facebook, spreading the episode and garnering unwanted attention, that raised the profile of this incident

The NS Attorney General likens the social media ban to barring a drunk driver from driving or requiring a drug abuser to stay away from drugs. Here’s the issue — How do you effectively enforce the ban when there are a multitude of devices from which one can access social media tools?

I perceive this as similar to “shunning” in certain religious communities in that enforcement responsibility lies with family, friends and the local community to ensure this girl does not access social media.

Will this be enough of a deterrent? Will this engage others, such as parents and the local community to help combat cyber bullying?

What are your thoughts?


8 thoughts on “COM0011-521: “You’re Banned from Social Media!!!”

  1. Bullying is going to happen whether its on the internet or in person. Social is another window of opportunity for bully’s to take action. Bullying period is sad. I find the media and gaming has allot of influence to this area, however that’s a whole other discussion.

  2. Interesting. In a sense, it is much like when a judge bans a drunk driver from getting behind the wheel of a car. There is no foolproof way of enforcing the judgement unless the guilty party gets pulled over by the police and is caught.

    It’s a problem that is prevalent with bans — judges are struggling with how to enforce publication bans, for example, when they can be circumvented by journalists or bloggers in other countries, where they are beyond the reach of Canadian laws.

    I wonder if someone who was banned from social media could get around the ruling by blogging or texting from their cottage in the United States? A savvy defence lawyer would no doubt argue that the IP address used was from outside the country, and therefore no offence under Canadian law has occurred, since the judgment probably can’t be enforced outside of Canada. It is an issue that will bedevil lawmakers and judges for years to come as social media platforms don’t necessarily recognize traditional borders!

  3. Bob,
    You are talking about a real and significant topic which can not be ignored. Cyber bullying will only increase if our society does not act. Right now, same as bullying, we only hear about the major cases because they usually involve high levels of aggression, brutality or in some cases, death. But how many more are suffering in silence because they believe there situation is not so bad?
    I believe the sentence requested by the Crown is a start. Is it the best solution? Is it going to work? One can only hope. You are right when you say that the application of this sentence and it’s success relies mainly with the family, the friends and the community. And because of this, I am doubtful of success. If the immediate family does not support the sentence or take the matter seriously, the ban will fail and the accused will get further and further away from rehabilitation. The only way for it to work is through very strict implementation; no more chances, no cheating.
    I truly hope this initiative works or at least starts a discussion about ‘cracking down’ on cyber bullying. Society needs to be engaged in trying to find a solution to this ‘social’ problem.

  4. I don’t think it is possible to ban this girl from social media in today’s society. Social media is everywhere you turn around, and unless you locked her up with no communication to the outside world, she will use and be influenced by social media. It might be a good start to have her give back to society, or volunteer with individuals with disabilities and open her up to their world and help her understand the effect bullying has on people. I think teens today are cruel to be honest, 10 years ago I would have never imagined the things that happen today in schools, happening in mine. Think about being grounded a child and say your parents taking away your cellphone, you would find a way to sneak it back or use it when they weren’t home. Same with this girl, no lesson is being taught by removing social media, she needs to learn some real lessons and consequences in life.

  5. It is so much easier to key in your thoughts and hit send than it is to say it to one’s face. Social media is an additional form of bullying. By “additional”, I mean it “adds” to it, thus there’s more bullying. That’s my opinion.

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