Danish police have taken a hard line on inappropriate content, namely child pornography, shared on social media, charging over 1,000 young people with "distribution of child pornography" after video content of two 15 year olds was circulated online, predominantly on Facebook and Messenger. “It may sound very dramatic that we’re charging with child pornography,” said Flemming Kjaerside, a police superintendent. “Many had no intention to distribute child pornography, but objectively speaking, that’s what they’ve done.”
While undoubtably traumatic for the victims, the consequences for that quick social share are also significant. If found guilty, the 800 boys and 200 girls aged between 15 and 20 will likely receive a fine or a 20-day suspended sentence, both of which would give them a criminal record lasting up to 10 years. This record could hinder future career options including social and police work, teaching and working with children, and prevent some travel including to the United States. Mira Bech, 19, who received notice to contact the police for questioning, admitted seeing and storing the video. “This will ruin my life. It’s the world’s most ridiculous case. I couldn’t tell that the people in the video were under 18.”
Bringing accountability to social sharing shows how seriously authorities are starting to deal with the dark side of social media platforms. Youtube has come under fire many times for its 'post anything, anytime' ethos with inappropriate content regularly breaching its policies. The latest outrage features 22 year old Hollywood VLog star Logan Paul, who visited Japan's Aokigahara Forest (also known as "suicide forest") and posted footage of himself standing and laughing beside a dead body to his 15 million followers. Despite quickly deleting the footage and apologising, the public backlash was swift. With a large number of teenage followers (including my niece and her schoolmates), this is a disturbing approach to take to creating content in an attempt to go viral.
Social media platforms are tremendous communication and support tools, but can also be misused. Schools and parents need to support good digital citizenship by placing age appropriate boundaries around content and platforms. This is increasingly challenging with BYOD and 3G/4G mobile devices, and many schools are struggling to enforce their own school policies around internet use.
Family Zone integrated solution
Family Zone offers schools and parent communities an integrated solution, connecting student internet management in the classroom with the Family Zone parental control app to provide age appropriate boundaries.
If you'd like more information on how this integrated solution could work for your school community, we can easily set up a Demo for your school. Get in touch, we'd love to hear from you.