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.
You’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?