Rules for parents:
1. Teach them young. Explain that there is no such thing as privacy online.
2. Supervise rigorously. Track and monitor their actions.
3. Choose age-appropriate online things for them to do.
As always: know their friends and friends parents, communicate often, and don’t be naive. Yes, your kid would too do that. Oy.
The Internet started picking on Jessi Slaughter relentlessly. But it was more than just mocking: People started circulating Jessi’s real name, phone number, address and links to all her social networking accounts. Someone prank called her. According to Encyclopedia Dramatica, pranksters spammed her Facebook and MySpace accounts, had pizzas delivered to her house and were considering sending call girls off Craigslist to the address. (Encyclopedia Dramatica currently has a three part section on How to troll Jessi: 1) There are pics of her holding her boobs 2) Tell her to kill herself 3) Tell her dad that we are going to beat her up.) Slaughter’s information and videos also shot through tumblr, aided by the blogging platform’s reblogging system.
Eventually, Jessi’s dad filmed himself yelling at the camera. Boing Boing picked up the video and a meme was born. Actually, the video’s so good it spawned at least three different memes: You dun Goofed, Consequences will never be the same and Cyberpolice.
1. What are your kids doing on the Internet? Normally, we find fears about kids on the Internet the product of technophobic hysteria. But this case is a very good argument for why parents should at least be vaguely aware of what their kids are up to on the Internet. Is your 11 year-old girl embroiled in an underage sex scandal with the lead singer of a popular emo band? Is she threatening to shoot people on YouTube videos? Maybe now is the time to invest in good parental control software before she becomes a meme.
2. Tumblr is becoming a home for trolls. Tumblr was originally the good-natured domain of hip New York creatives. It was, on balance, a creative force on the Internet. But the role it played in trolling Jessi Slaughter shows that Tumblr is developing a nasty side as well. Tumblr founder David Karp better get on this before Tumblr becomes 4chan with a slick minimalist interface.