If we accept that the US government do not do enough to change their laws to combat social conduct, then it is important to understand a corporeal example of this. Perhaps one of the most relevant is the rise of cyber bullying, which sees young and vulnerable individuals threatened and abused by anonymous offenders. It has come to prominence in the wake of increased technological advancement and the unlimited access that individuals have to it, and has afforded bullies the opportunity to operate remotely and beneath the guise of anonymity.

A recent case in North Andover has exemplified this perfectly. A young girl who had both suffered from and beaten cancer before the age of 11, she began to receive texts and emails which threatened both her mental and physical well being. After missing a period of school and finding herself cowed by fear, she eventually discussed the situation with her parents and dismissed their fears that she was once more unwell. After reporting the details to the police, an investigation revealed that the perpetrator was one of the victims closest friends, who had used technology to disguise her contact details to harass and intimidate her.

A New Threat to Personal Security

This is a prime example of a relatively new but significant threat to individual safety and well being, and one that has no accepted precedent as a consequence. In this particular case, the perpetrator received a course of counselling and a set amount of community service, although this has been dismissed by the parents of the victim as inadequate and derisory. Regardless, a clear and stringent consequence for those found guilty of cyber bullying must be implemented, both to protect potential victims and act as a deterrent to those who look to perpetrate it.

Regardless of its original purpose or aspirations, there is no doubt that social media has changed the landscape of social and political activism. As its popularity has grown amongst both renowned and everyday users, so too it has developed a wider range of tools to assist professional and organized applications rather than the mere basics of social interaction. This evolution has seen social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter become perfectly placed for those without authority to voice their opinions and plan group collaborations and organized protests.

From Humble Origins

Undoubtedly, Facebook has set the prevailing trends in social media, and is the model from which other similar outlets take their leave. From its clear and humble origins as a social mediator and connector of faded friendships, it has mastered the tools of remote interaction before stepping authoritatively into the interwoven worlds of business and politics. Considering that it has only existed for over 5 years, this evolution of its services has been both swift and exceptionally well directed.

Twitter has adopted a similar patter on growth, and has broadened its appeal both in terms of available services and its user demographics. While initially considered something as a novelty consideration endorsed chiefly by celebrities and renowned entities, it has become a viable medium for the whole of society to share their thoughts, activities and concepts of enterprise. Twitter, like Facebook, has taken great strides to lend itself to the needs of corporate and political groups, and now forms the basis of many successful business marketing and government campaigns.

Regardless of the country in which we live, there are always international stories and events which help to inform and promote necessary debate amongst society. The online revolution has helped significantly to draw together the people of the world in a global community and achieve this, and made the processes of sharing information and images both easier and more relevant. This week, an incident in Spain has raised significant international dialogue, concerning the accepted ineffectiveness of justice and the increasing risk of reprisal in society.

In Spain, a court has agreed to grant a full pardon to a women who set fire to and killed the convicted rapist of her daughter in 1998. The incident occurred when the felon, who was sentenced to 9 years for his assault on the 13 year old minor, was on an approved 3 day release from his sentence and approached the mother at a local bus stop to enquire about his victims welfare. Indignant, she returned home and acquired some petrol and later accosted him in a bar, before she inflicted the injuries which ultimately caused his death 10 days later.

The Inadequacies of Justice

After being originally sentenced to 7 years in prison, the woman in question had this reduced to 5 years upon appeal, before a 5000 strong public petition and lobbying secured her release after a solitary year in captivity. With a full pardon due to be confirmed shortly, it would seem that the defendant will be absolved of a crime that was allegedly committed in a state of temporary insanity. While much of the discussion has centered on whether victims should ever be allowed to administer a personal brand of justice, more should be done to address the failures of the courts in the first instance.

In the contemporary age, we are fortunate to have access to an extensive online source of knowledge and opinion, making it far easier in theory to cultivate behaviour and set a good example to younger members of society. However, when you consider the advancements that society has made in terms of technology and medical science, it appears as though any progression in social conduct and conditions has been painstakingly slow and ineffective by comparison. The question that rises from this is whether individuals within society are failing to learn from history or their contemporaries, or whether the right example is not being set in the first instance.

A good example of this quandary was witnessed in Utah this week, as they finally had a requested law passed to recognize a specific firearm as one of its state symbols. Utah governor Gary Herbert signed and authorized the bill which originated from a colleagues idea, and created a 25th symbol to represent the core principles of the region and its citizens. However, in an age where violent crime is rising and firearms are increasingly used in acts of aggression rather than those of self defence, it could be argued that its inclusion to represent a democratic state is entirely inappropriate.

Morality and the Example of Elders

If we have learned anything from studies of anti social or criminal behavior, then it should be that perpetrators of these types of conduct are often following an example that has been set to them, either by a parent or significant influence in their burgeoning childhood. This is often referred to as learned behavior, involves youngsters and adolescents following their elders and repeating the actions and words that they see being performed on an everyday basis. This not only dictates conduct, but also an individuals morality, values and ethical considerations.

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