It seems incredible that so many young people who have no memory of a world before the Internet are entirely unaware of the degree to which they have been dehumanized by the Web. They have almost no concept of the consequences they will suffer for their immersion in what they mistakenly believe is a virtual world.
On Oct. 13, a female student at Ohio University was allegedly raped near campus. Numerous witnesses stood by, doing nothing but snapping photos they then rushed to post on social media sites.
Athens, Ohio, Police Chief Tom Pyle said it "certainly would appear to the lay person to be despicable that they're posting this information." Despicable does not quite cover it. Such callous behavior is disgusting, indecent and deeply disturbing. It has been pointed out some of the students who posted their photos may have believed they were witnessing consensual behavior. The thought that such a belief would make it appropriate to take and publicize those photos is baffling.
Parents and teachers must understand today's young people simply do not have the healthy respect they need for technology and the Internet because it has always been part of their world. The line between entertainment and reality is so blurred for them that they have no idea the damage they can do to themselves and others with a few keystrokes or swipes.
It is not enough, anymore, to talk to kids about sex, drugs, alcohol and bullying. The problems associated with all of those issues are magnified by the Internet and the numb zone it creates for its users. Education, at home and in the classroom, is sorely needed if we hope to help this generation to live safely and decently.