We're all very much aware of the pitfalls of social networking, but when we have a brush with them ourselves, the dangers are hammered home.
I refer to my 14-year-old daughter who has recently entered the realm of Facebook. On the whole she simply partakes in enjoyable banter with friends and acquaintances and, on the whole, I can see nothing wrong with this. Indeed over the last couple of months she has endeavoured to come out of a somewhat hardened shell! We're even being told of remarkable improvements in classroom participation, which coincides with her communicating more freely with those she knows well and not so well.
However, she recently became aware of the fact that she was being referred to by a friend, "wall-to-wall" a means by which friends can openly communicate. The friend was speaking about her with his pal in a foreign language. With curiosity spiked, my daughter used Google Translate to figure out what was being said, and I'm sorry to write, discovered her friend was being particularly lewd.
A crime? In private, well no, I guess not.
Today my daughter is acutely aware that a distorted physical description and obscene suggestions have been banded around the internet. Nothing to worry about if she were to remain anonymous, but this vulgarity is shared by friends, and then friends of friends; something that if she had the power to undo she most certainly would.