The government is calling on the broadcaster YouTube to block or remove any bulling videos. The Education secretary Alan Johnson spoke to the National Union of school masters and (NASUWT) the union of woman teachers in Belfast and stated that he thought “Cyber bullying cruel and relentless, able to follow a child beyond the school gates and into their homes”.
“Cyber – bullying” is the self professed love child of the “happy slapping” craze that took off with the popularity of video on mobile phones. My gut reaction to this was “yes, they should remove it… but I have since considered all sides of the argument”.
Firstly the issue of censorship is that it has a tendency to push issues under the carpet and although I detest bullying, I thought I would rather people comment on the videos “good or bad” to raise awareness of this horrible deluded pastime. I could not find any of the bullying videos on the site which had been documented by the BBC etc, I did stumble across a few happy slapping videos, but the majority of videos I found were actually anti bullying and all the comments on the happy slapping clips were very negative against harassment, discrimination or violence of any sort. Although the use of term gay as something that is “weak” or “lame” still gets my back up, that’s for a totally different post. In its defence, the YouTube audience were very negative towards any displays of violence.
Secondly I then turned to the actual issue, the bullying itself. Shouldn’t the government be targeting the actual issue of bullying and supporting schools to condemn such behaviour instead of slating YouTube, it’s a little like shouting at the field after the horse has bolted. Why not ban mobile phones in schools, crack down on offending pupils, incentivise some sort of playground type neighbourhood watch … i.e.: deal with the issue. We arrest kids for stealing cars and we don’t find any of these videos on the internet? Perhaps if beating up on your fellow pupils was made illegal the little darlings wouldn’t do it and certainly would not be videoing themselves doing it?
B. YouTube reserves the right to decide whether Content or a User Submission is appropriate and complies with these Terms of Service for violations other than copyright infringement and violations of intellectual property law, such as, but not limited to, pornography, obscene or defamatory material, or excessive length. YouTube may remove such User Submissions and/or terminate a User’s access for uploading such material in violation of these Terms of Service at any time, without prior notice and at its sole discretion.
If You Tube are saying that all obscene videos will be removed then doesn’t the torture of a young person by a gang of others come under such a category? Also if slander and libel are banned from the YouTube network to stop the harm coming to a person’s reputation then surely the physical abuse of a child should be included in this. I think perhaps we should be rethinking exactly why pornography has been banned on the network but violence has not, is it purely due to legalities?
I do worry about what has been described as the last platform of free speech being restricted, but, their can be freedom without allowing cruelty and I do think under this reasoning You Tube has a responsibility to stop cruelty from being promoted via its technology, and if it does continue make criminals of these bullies – not celebrities!
Further reading for and against the issue:
Other Anti bullying videos can be found on YouTube