The conviction of a Massachusetts woman, Michelle Carter has blasted across news and social media sites. Carter was convicted and found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the suicide of her boyfriend Conrad Roy.
Carter was proven to have sent her boyfriend numerous text messages encouraging him to end his life, something he had voiced many times over he was ready to do. Her conviction has sent a ripple though the headlines. And while it can be argued that Carter did not actually take the young scholar’s life, it is harder to deny it wasn’t solely her messages convinced him in making the decision to end his life.
Doesn’t Carter have a right to free speech? According to the United States Constitution’s first amendment Congress shall make “no law… abridging the freedom of speech”. It however does NOT say that you can just say whatever you want with no consequences. It breaks down very simply. Michelle Carter was a bully. She bullied her boyfriend into committing suicide.
We cannot deny we live in a social media world. Our words, more so than our actions nowadays, have a lasting effect on each other. From political debates, to disagreements about how a television show ended, society has a false security of hiding behind a screen will protect us from the consequences of our words. Social media is full of hate speech. We see article after article, post after post, story after story of teen and young children being bullied. Hateful comments on social media or via texting can destroy a young adults self esteem and have permanent consequences.
I think it’s time we establish a course that teaches young children about online presence. How their actions and comments online, or behind any screen, can have lasting consequences on their own lives as well as the lives of others. English, Math, Social Media Awareness. While social media can be very useful, informative and entertaining, it can also be very dangerous. I believe every parent would agree they want to teach their children the right way to treat other people, but social media is teaching some kids a different lesson and we need to close the gap.
Facebook has been around since 2004, with numerous other social media sites picking up popularity along the way. Social media is here to stay and privacy settings control how much a parent can actually see without going deep in the accounts. Plus kids are really great at hiding secrets from adults.
What do you think?