Time for national debate on social media
Sir, – This week’s scandalous humiliation of a young girl on social media (Home News & Opinion, August 21st) demonstrates yet again how society has utterly failed to come to grips with this relatively new form of communication.
The existing libel laws are wholly inadequate for dealing with an incident such as this and seem almost antediluvian in the face of social media.
We use modern terms such as, tweet, retweet, share and like but essentially it all amounts to the same thing: publication. The ability to instantly publish photos, videos and text and make them available to millions of people worldwide is a great power and brings with it a great responsibility. Who decided that it was perfectly okay for children and teenagers to have this power?
We have laws protecting our children against inappropriate traditional media content, yet we allow them to walk around with smartphones. Children and teenagers do not have the knowledge, life experience or emotional intelligence to make decisions about publishing photos and videos.
We need to have a national debate on the use of social media, perhaps resulting in a code of conduct or ethics that adults would have to sign up to before being allowed to join these websites. Our children need to be protected, as much from themselves and their peers as anything else. – Yours, etc,