'Cyber-mobbing' -- the latest web threat

‘Cyber-mobbing’ — the latest web threat

January 23, 2011 by Claire Knight
Posted in: In this week's e-newsletter, Internet, Latest News & Views

Have you heard of  “cyber-mobbing” yet? It’s the latest web danger, and the goal is to make students do the unthinkable.

Twenty-year-old Matthew Bean was found guilty of cyber-mobbing an unnamed student in an attempt to get him to commit suicide.

Calling the crime “extremely malicious,” a district court judge has sentenced the New Jersey man to 45 days in prison for participating in an electronic mob.

Old online posts resurface

When the victim was much younger, he posted sexually explicit photos of himself online.

Eventually the pictures were posted on a pornographic website, which is where Bean found the photos. In court, Bean admitted that he:

  • “worked” to identify the naked teen from the photos
  • forwarded the photos to teachers, administrators and classmates at the teen’s private school in the Philadelphia area
  • sent the pictures to school officials under the guise of a parent who was “concerned about such beastly behavior,” and
  • was involved with a web mob that posted taunts, including “let’s make this kid want to die.”

After receiving the explicit photos, school officials contacted local and federal law enforcement, who investigated the incident and tracked down the sender.

Visit The Institute for Responsible Online and Cell-Phone Communication and Public and Permanent: The Golden Rule of the 21st Century for info on teaching students about online safety.

What does your school do to teach students about online safety and prevent student suicides? Share your strategies in the comments box below.

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