Jan 20, 2007 4:27 pm US/Central
Violent Videos Come Under Fire On The Web
(WCCO) This week, Web sites like YouTube and MySpace came under attack for hosting violent videos like the video of three 9th grade girls from Long Island taking turns pulling hair, punching and even stomping on an 8th grade girl.
The attack was taped and posted on the web and safety experts say many parents have no idea videos like that even exist out in cyberspace.
Playground fights are nothing new, but posting them on video websites is.
The parents of one 13-year old beating victim did not want to press charges until it ended up on the Internet.
"By putting these images up on the Internet, you get attention. You get fame. It's a culture in which kids are looking to be famous," said psychologist James Garbarino.
Police and other law enforcement agencies have started monitoring popular websites for violent videos. Once the clips are out in the open it can become the perfect evidence because the act of posting it becomes an admission of guilt.
"They don't say, 'I'm putting on a picture of a fight which is against the law.' It's, 'I'm putting on a picture of a fight. I will have 15 minutes of fame.' They don't see it as a criminal act," said Roni Benson an anti-bullying advocate.
Even if your kids never get involved in any violence, experts worry about another risk. Parry Aftab with wiredsafety.org says the videos make gang life seem exciting and cool to lure kids in.
"It's allowing gangs to recruit beyond where they used to. So, we have a lot of kids who are bored in upper middle class suburban neighborhoods who are now finding that it might be kind of fun to hang out with the Bloods," said Aftab.
YouTube said it pulls any flagged video that shows someone being "hurt, attacked or humiliated."
MySpace said it removes flagged videos with "offensive content, hate speech and violence."
Policies aside, the videos are posted and advocates are concerned that most parents have no idea and need to be warned.
"What we need to let parents know is your kids can stumble on it. You have to talk to them ahead of time about what they may find," said Aftab.
In recent weeks, the video Web sites have added safety teams that also monitor and remove inappropriate content as it's discovered.
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