Imagine someone would tell a 14-year old boy this: “I will you pay 100 euros, and buy you drinks if you go to this girl’s house and murder her.” Sounds pretty horrible to me, and who would do that? Tragic thing is, that is what the boy did. I am sure the Dutch people among us have heard of the so-called “Facebook murder”. It happened last year, January 2012, and it literally shocked The Netherlands and raised many discussions about the role of social media.
To briefly summarize this shocking news [or see the link below]: it started with a fight/quarrel on Facebook between two best (girl) friends. It was said the girl (15), who was killed, revealed unpleasant details about her best friend’s private life on Facebook. In response to that, a furious “friend” (15) complained to her boyfriend (17) who then contacted the 14-year-old boy. The couple decided to set up a plan and pay the boy if he murders the schoolgirl. She got stabbed on her own doorstep and shortly after that her father, who came outside to rescue his daughter, got stabbed too. He, fortunately, survived the incident, however, his daughter passed away a few days later.
So why did the media decided to call this the “Facebook murder”? Well, simply said because the whole fight started on Facebook? I assume that was the reason why they called it that. Many people started to wonder about what role social media played in this incident and what the dangers of social media are?
Personally, I do not think we can blame Facebook for this and say it is too dangerous to use now. If this happened over the traditional phone, would we then blame the phone and stop using it? No. So, it does not really make sense, but I understand as a journalist you have to name it something, right? However, I do agree that Facebook played a part in this and maybe, just maybe, it would have gone different without social media.
The girl’s father said that though the world of social media is growing, the dangers of it are growing too and that it is coming too fast for children, as they are still too young. He hopes this incident will open up some people’s eyes. I have to say I agree with him, because I think many people, including parents, are not aware of the dangers of social media and what damage it can actually lead to. Questions were raised such as: why didn’t anyone notice the fight, what about the parents? Or why didn’t or couldn’t anyone prevent it from letting it come that far?
Social media nowadays has so many advantages, but this incident is clearly an example of what children can do with social media besides connecting with friends. It is so simple nowadays; social media makes it a lot easier for teenagers to send out messages, not always for the good. It happens so fast and they don’t have to see each other’s face. There is no one who keeps an eye on what exactly they are doing. Small things can escalate very quickly through the use of Internet.
I think we, especially parents, should be more aware of the dangers of social media, with regard to young children. Be more aware of what they are doing and what they publish. This “Facebook Murder” is just one example out of many other incidents that were caused through the use of social media.
I am interested in your opinions though. Does it make sense for media to call this case “Facebook murder”? Do you think it would have made a difference if there were no social media involved? If you have any thoughts, feel free to leave a comment! We say social media is the future, but so are our children…