A 13-year-old boy named Vito LaPinta from Tacoma, Washington got in big trouble with the Feds earlier this week because of what he wrote on Facebook. Reportedly, he posted a status update that warned President Obama of suicide bombers retaliating for the death of Osama bin Laden.
LaPinta explained to FOX News:
I was saying how Osama was dead and for Obama to be careful because there could be suicide bombers.
In turn, he was called into the principal's office at his school, where a man who identified himself as a Secret Service agent told him that the post was considered a threat to the President.
In some ways, yeah, the government totally overreacted. This is a 13-year-old we're talking about. Just how much of a threat are his Facebook status updates to the President of the United States?
But on the other hand, the incident raises questions about kids acting like, well, kids on a social network that initially may have been all fun, games, and FarmVille, but has increasingly become a serious forum and force to be reckoned with.
I'm of the belief that what Vito did was an idiot move. Yeah, alright, he's a kid, so maybe his parents are more to blame for not imparting on their young teen that he needs to take more care with what he posts online.
By nature, kids are probably the worst offenders of blase, impulsive, lacking-foresight behavior, but adults do it, too. Overall, people thinking they can just mouth off and say whatever the hell they want on social media forums is an epidemic we're all facing. It's almost like the technology itself encourages verbal diarrhea, what with multiple screens staring at us, inquiring, "What's on your mind?" or "What's going on?"
I'm not saying we should have to censor ourselves, because we fear that Big Brother may be watching. But how about exhibiting a little self-control or thinking before publishing full-fledged keyboard spews? What's more, what happened here with LaPinta is such a teachable moment not just for kids, but anyone who doesn't think twice before posting something moronic online. (Did you hear about the 13-year-old girl who was suspended for wishing that Osama bin Laden would kill her math teacher? Oh yeah, that happened.)
It's a wake-up call that Facebook/the Internet isn't the equivalent of a slambook (remember those? Ha ha!), passing a note back and forth in geometry class, or even shooting emails back and forth with a coworker. Yeah, we hear it over and over again: What happens on the Internet stays on the Internet. Maybe most 13-year-olds and even some adults just don't fully understand that it's best to use a little common sense when posting on it.
Do you agree that kids and even some adults need to better understand and consider the consequences of their status updates and tweets?
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