Kids and New Technologies

nightmare.jpgHaving a bit more time than usual this morning, I spent some time reading the news online and came across the frightening story of a rape by two pre-teens.

Apparently one 11-year-old had invited his 12-year-old friend to watch a porn DVD. The latter had come with his sister (she is only 10). After watching the film, the two boys decided to replicate what they had just watched and raped the girl while filming themselves on a cell phone. They then spread the video among their friends. It seems that in the end about 100 other students saw the mobile footage before the news reached the police.

The kids involved don’t come from deprived homes but live in a middle-class area of a Paris suburb.

As if the news wasn’t horrifying enough one online paper found an “expert in psychiatry” who tells us those kids can’t be expected to understand what they did wrong. He added that their sexuality is burgeoning and that for them everything was like a game, something spontaneous and playful. He acknowledges however that “the uninformed” might view all this as shocking. He also believes that legal sanctions are useless and that the whole legal process should teach them a lesson.

The only thing on which I agree with him is his conclusion: he emphasizes parental responsibility rather than school education in this sort of matter.

Obviously such a piece of news sparked off hosts of reactions on the different websites which related it. Most of the readers were shocked (they must belong to “the uninformed” while some reactions were quite astonishing. Thus, in the name of freedom, some people refused to limit Internet access to adult sites. Aren’t they hypocrits who refuse to admit they don’t want to pay for porn (after all buying adult DVDs is not forbidden whether online or in specialist shops) rather than freedom champions?

Some people (males mainly if names and nicknames are anything to go buy) argue that these games are rather harmless and can’t be very different from what kids have always done. Have I been blessed with exceptional brothers, has my memory grown deplorable or are these folks in denial about their innocuous games?

Another thing that worries me concerning the generation involved is that it took a whole week for the story to reach adult ears. Does this mean that all theses kids said nothing to their parents, older siblings or teachers because they saw the video as inoffensive? Were they afraid they might be seen as traitors?