Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Another week, and yet another social media app has parents, school officials, and others concerned about its potential to facilitate cyber-bullying. Yik Yak is an app that lets people broadcast information to other users in their geographic area based on the GPS settings of the device being used. According to the Yik Yak site, users can:

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In other words, it’s like an amplifier that anonymously broadcasts your text messages to hundreds of people within a 5 mile radius around you in real time. Sounds like the perfect cyber-bullying tool to me.

But, never fear, the app’s creators forbid transmission of “any pornographic, obscene, offensive, threatening, harassing, libelous, hate-oriented, harmful, defamatory, racist, illegal, or otherwise objectionable material or content.” And, I’m certain everyone will abide by those terms.

The creators are also careful to point out that they are not responsible for material transmitted via their service:

Yik Yak, LLC is in no way responsible for user-generated content. Content posted on this app is subject to:

  • 1st Amendment: Freedom/Anonymity of speech is protected under the 1st Amendment
  • Communications Decency Act: “Operators of Internet services are not to be construed as publishers and thus not legally liable for the words of third parties who use their services”

I’m all for free speech, of course, but I’m also concerned that this particular app creates yet another vector for people to transmit harmful information about others in a way that completely skirts personal responsibility. One school in Missouri is already contending with the fallout from this particular app.

App creates cyber bullying concerns in Johnson County

What are your thoughts? Does this app go too far? What are parents doing to address this and prevent Yik Yak from being used as yet another tool to bully children?

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One of our main goals has been to share quality information on criminal justice topics with as wide an audience as possible. This blog is just one channel for doing that. We’ve recently launched a new site to help parents navigate the challenges of keeping their family safe online: socialwebsafety.com.

Check it out and let us know what you think. If you like what you see, click “subscribe” and have it sent to your email inbox every week.

Social Web Safety 2013-12-07 09-04-18Keep your family safe by staying on top of all the latest trends, and problems, in the world of social media.

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Facebook proclaims that it “helps you connect and share with the people in your life,” which, as it turns out, may not always be such a good thing. Illegal activity, ranging from child pornography, stalking and harassment, and violation of restraining orders also occurs in the virtual world of social media. Even more concerning, however, are violent offenses, such as  sexual assault and homicide, that have been either facilitated or directly precipitated by use of such sites.

As it turns out, though, this might just be a double edged sword. Social media can facilitate crime, but it can also help solve offenses, too.

For example, a teenager was recently found guilty of a 2011 Facebook-related murder in which the site was used to lure the victim to a location where he was then shot to death. Fortunately, detectives were able to seize the teen’s computer and verify that he was indeed the person responsible for the crime.

Below is an excellent infographic created by criminaljusticedgreesguide.com that describes twenty other offenses solved using Facebook. The range and scope of these crimes is pretty staggering, as is the apparent ignorance of some of the perpetrators who treated a social media site as if it were their private haven. As you’ll see, that didn’t work out too well for them.