South Dakota brothers really know how to handle a situation. According to Inforum.com, in Fargo, S.D., a 15-year-old boy was beaten up because he confronted a boy who sent his 13-year-old sister a picture of the attacker’s genitals. The girl’s brother was punched in the face three times and ended up in the hospital to get several stiches. Police executed a search warrant of the girl’s phone for the photo, but only found that her brother brought a baseball bat to the encounter. There is no evidence of the photograph because he sent it over Snapchat.
For those who have never used Snapchat, essentially you can send photos and videos to people you know for up to 10 seconds. After that, the photo or video is gone forever — unless you screen shot it. At first thought, people tend to think the app is for sending explicit pictures. It’s so convenient! You can please your sexual partner and there will be no evidence! At least until they screen shot your work-of-art, that is.
But the discussion needs to lean toward why 13-year-olds have smart phones with capabilities such as these. With the age of the Internet, especially Facebook, teenagers are unable to escape bully environments they encounter in school. When they are home, they cannot unplug from social situations and forget about them until the next day. They are constantly lambasted with social pressure and never able to sit and breathe. A 13-year-old should not be subjected to this constant social stress. And to receive explicit photos on top of this weighs too heavily on pre-teens and teens.
Where has technology gone? Back in the seventh grade, we had a flip phones to call home. Now, children (and adults, too) have access to the Internet, which is impossible to regulate. The main problem here lies not in the Internet itself, but in over-access to it at an inappropriate age. Though it may sound authoritarian to limit exposure to all of the digital age’s facets, these individuals are not well-educated adults who are able to filter properly. They are young teenagers who are impressionable and too young to grasp the gravity of some of the more mature parts of socialization.
Because the Internet itself is so nuanced and difficult to regulate, responsibility, then, falls to parents and schools to ensure that students are at least aware of some of the dangers young adults face online.
Perhaps, even, the public can make attempts to provide educational resources to adults. Technology is moving faster than most beyond Generation X can adapt. Parents and schools must understand the extent to which the technology can be used, but by the time they understand Snapchat, their children are onto the next big app.