We are only a few weeks from the horrible incident in which young Phoebe Prince was driven to suicide by verbal and physical abuse at S. Hadley HS in Massachusetts. Each day brings additional examples of youth abusing other teenagers on Internet or Facebook in order to demonstrate their power to humiliate those who lack defenders. A Swedish court has found six young men guilty of Internet harassment by posting pictures of over 30 teen age girls who were portrayed to the world as sexually permissive. Together with their compromising pictures on Internet were insulting remarks. The pictures were also displayed on YouTube and made into picture galleries.
The entire concept as to what constitutes free speech must be rethought in light of technological developments. We have to find the 21st century meaning as to what constitutes shouting, “fire” in a crowded theater.