This is something I think about all the time.
It’s so easy — too easy — for people to hurt each other via the Internet. People can say horrible things — true or not — without much repercussion or backlash. In fact, they don’t even have to reveal who they are. On the Internet we can all remain relatively anonymous.
And now meanies are swapping and sharing secrets and embarrassing or intimate moments online — without the victim knowing.
This just happened last week when a Rutgers University freshman jumped off a bridge to his death after authorities say two classmates surreptitiously recorded — and broadcasted over the Internet — a video of him having sex with a man in his dorm room.
Oh, and it gets worse.
The two roommates — who have been charged with illegally taping 18-year-old Tyler Clementi — even promoted the recording on Twitter. One of the defendants, Dharun Ravi, said this message: “Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.”
Two days later, he posted on Twitter: “Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes it’s happening again.”
I’m completely disgusted. Who does these kinds of things? Who thinks this is OK? What’s a matter with these two freshmen — obviously smart enough to get into Rutgers — to think doing something like isn’t just legal but acceptable behavior?
And it’s not like this is the first time this has happened.
Celebrities complain all the time about personal sex tapes getting leaked on the Internet. (Sure, you can argue that some purposely leak footage. But I can’t imagine they all do.) And there have been two recent cases where naked photos of teenage girls, sent to a single person, were e-mailed to classmates and strangers, leading both girls to take their lives.
And it won’t stop.
We’re armed with camera phones that can shoot and broad high-definition video within seconds. We are surrounded by computers and recording devices. We could be watched wherever we go, even in our own homes, even in our bathrooms
Is anyone else scared?
To read all of Cat’s blogs, visit www.nonstophonolulu.com/thedailydish. Follow Cat on Twitter @thedailydish or send her an e-mail at [email protected]
RECENT BLOG POSTS
ASK DR. DISH: ‘He voted for Bush!’
Malassadas + Grace Park = big ratings
Wherefore art thou, romantic comedies?
FUUD: Bella Mia Pizzeria in McCully
Call me, but don’t leave a message
Are you a jerk driver?
It is scary, and it seems that young people are particularly vulnerable. At the same time, we can’t stop where we are, nor turn back. A few years ago, anyone with a browser window open could find out where I live and have a map with directions to my house in about 45 seconds. Now, life is even a lot less private, and most of the information tools are wireless and hand-held. There are essentially no controls and free speech applies to just about anything.
Ah, you know my issues with this, Cat! I think the internet allows passive-aggressive people to blossom, especially when they’re being mean.
Sorry for the double comment. Although our brave new world is scary with respect to the loss of privacy, it is also incredibly easy to be nice, pay a compliment, or express gratitude. I have to trust that the better side of humanity will win out in the vast majority of cases. Great blog Cat!
Being technologically chanllenged (it took about 3 months to figure out how to post on this site). I never gave it much thought till now.
Melissa808, were you downtown near JJ Dolans aroung 2:00pm yesterday?
@che That was me!!! Next time, yell at me. 🙂
Privacy ain’t what it used to be. The eye of the camera watches us 24/7, in stores, in parking lots, in offices, on the street, and in college dormrooms. It’s sad, yes, but this constant and ubiquitous surveillance didn’t just come about yesterday. By now people should be aware of this and act accordingly. If you choose to do something that would make you want to kill yourself if others found out, then you either need to be that much more careful about who might be watching or you need to decide whether doing that something is worth the risk.
Am I condoning the actions of those who might film and publicly display these things? Absolutely not. These people need to be locked up. What I am saying, though, is each of us is ultimately responsible for what happens to us so, thanks to technology, we need to work harder at thinking about the potential consequences of our actions.
So sad. People are getting more and more numb to their actions while online. A chat room is virtual, no consequences are handed out. If they get banned for causing trouble, they simply create a new username. It takes sad stories like this for people to think more about what they say or do online.
if anyone ever posted naked pics of me on the internet, i’d be the one arrested for inflicting cruelty on the unsuspecting. i tease the people i like. i hope i don’t go too far. once, i thought i did, but Shauna Goya assured me it was ok. i don’t tease Melissa Chang as much as i want to, because, you know- that ‘fist o’ death thing’. i never tease you because, quite frankly; you scare me a little, make that a lot.
It’s horrible what happened to that student. The other two students involved seem like bright, intelligent kids and this tragedy will haunt them the rest of their lives. What seemed like an innocent childish prank turned into a nightmare for all those involved. Ravi and Wei deserve the punishment they receive but the knowledge of what they did is a life sentence.
@jaydee I have to disagree with you here. Ravi and Wei do not seem bright nor intelligent for choosing to do what they did, (Ravi TWICE!) …and, I don’t see how broadcasting a private, intimate, sexual moment for the world to see, which many in the world ostracize other people for (a homosexual relationship), is innocent or on a childish level. Is was nothing short of evil.
Your compassion for the two students is admirable. I just think it is misplaced. Transfer it to Clementi’s family and/or friends. Ravi should be punished to the maximum extent of the law. Wei shouldn’t get off easy either. Some say she was the unfortunate one for having Ravi walked into her room to broadcast it. But she could’ve said “No,” anytime.
Younger generation of people are growing up with all this violence freely accessible to them thru internet, video games, reality TV, movies, music, etc so many are desensitized to these things compared to the older people. And lack of manner, discipline, common sense, and respect doesnt help either.
If the guy ends up in prison, he may experience the very thing he sent out to cyberspace. This is a very sad story…
we have 2 b on our best behavior at all times.
Cat it saddens me to no end … here’s how one paper fought back (sad to say can’t see the new Star Advertiser doing this though) https://www.tampabay.com/news/obituaries/hit-and-run-victim-was-quiet-and-dependable-co-workers-say/1124721
don’t think this means we need to be on our best behavior at all times … I’m certainly not, but it does mean that we should not do mean things that would hurt others
@turk … tried to reply directly, but cudn’t … I have this recurring nightmare. I am tring to get a sandwich, a plate at rainbow or a Korean plate and I accidentally get in Cat’s way. All of a sudden, I’m in the morgue with surfboard tracks down my back.
Technology is going to keep advancing, regardless of how people use it. The web makes it easy to bully people without consequences, and the only way to change that is to educate children early on how to act appropriately online. People need to be held accountable for their actions, offline or online.
hate to say it, but it’s not going to get better. Society is twisted. I agree something needs to be done.
Anyone read George Orwell’s “1984”? Big Brother, a pervasive government surveillance, and constant mind control. Spooky yes but some of what he wrote about is real life today.
It’s easy to hide behind a comment without having to come face to face now days. Technology affords a front, a wall of sorts, to say and do as you please with little to no fear of retribution or so people think.
We live in a digital world now so collecting data on people is simpler to say the least. You’ve got voice recorders, cameras (still and video), parabolic mikes, laser bouncing equipment, and more. You can’t escape not being captured on some type of recording device.
You drive to work, you’re on the *highway cam*. You enter the parking garage and you swipe your *parking card* for entrance, same as your *work id* to get into the building. You *login* to your work network. You *swipe* out to leave the parking garage. You go home and you *login* to email, social networks, online purchases, etc. You enable the location app on your smart phone… and the list goes on and on.
We live in a digital world so everything is “stored” somewhere. There’s probably stuff out there, good or bad, about me that I don’t know about that could come back to haunt me one day.
Technology, you have to love it because you can’t leave it.
[Hint and note: when logging into at work environment, be judicious about where you surf. Big Brother is probably watching.]