Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Cyber-bullying

Fist popping out of computer screen

There is sometimes a lack of understanding among young people of the potential consequences of cyber-crime and cyber-bullying. The extradition of the young man who hacked into sensitive US sites is something of a cautionary tale in itself (regardless of opinion on the one-sidedness of the extradition treaty with the US).

However it is also worth making it known to students that a girl went to jail for manslaughter for holding the camera when someone was beaten to death in a 'happy-slapping' case. The doctrine of 'common purpose' extends to anyone who is part of such an activity.

Equally important is the case of the 18 year-old who was sent to a young offenders institution for a threat made on Facebook. The offender had previously been permanently excluded for assault on her victim some years earlier and had been convicted of kicking in the door of the victim's home, but the offence that sent her to a young offenders' institution was threatening behaviour online.

It is also reported that one major police force has hired consultants to scan social networking sites to identify crime. What constitutes criminal activity online and, more important, the consequences of criminal behaviour are essential parts of an ICT course. This may be worth checking at the next curriculum review.

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