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New Media, Communication, and Society

A Fast, Straightforward Examination of Key Topics

Mary Ann Allison and Cheryl A. Casey

New Media, Communication, and Society is a fast, straightforward examination of key topics which will be useful and engaging for both students and professors. It connects students to wide-ranging resources and challenges them to develop their own opinions. Moreover, it encourages students to develop media literacy so they can speak up and  make a difference in the world. Short chapters with lots of illustrations encourage reading and provide a springboard for conversation inside and outside of the classroom. Wide-ranging topics spark interest. Chapters include suggestions for additional exploration, a media literacy exercise, and a point that is just for fun. Every chapter includes thought leaders, ranging from leading researchers to business leaders to entrepreneurs, from Socrates to Doug Rushkoff and Lance Strate to Bill Gates.

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7 The Dark Side of the Internet (Cheryl A. Casey)

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CHAPTER 7

The Dark Side of the Internet

Cheryl A. Casey

Online lives and real-world consequences

One of the tragic stories to hit the news in 2010 was the suicide of Rutgers University first-year student, Tyler Clementi, who jumped to his death from a bridge after his roommate used a webcam to secretly stream one of Tyler’s sexual encounters.

Seventeen-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons, of Nova Scotia, tried to hang herself in April 2013, after photos of an alleged gang rape incident were spread online. She was taken off life support three days after her attempt.

Later that year, 12-year-old Florida resident Rebecca Sedwick committed suicide by jumping from a cement factory tower. Rebecca had allegedly been bullied by schoolmates through online message boards and texts, harassment that appeared to continue even after Rebecca transferred to a different school.

In June of 2014, a 17-year-old girl in Kolkata, India, hanged herself after a friend she had met online uploaded morphed and obscene pictures of her.

The causes of suicide are always complex, with many factors generally wrapped up in such heartbreaking incidents. As our lives continue to inhabit cyberspace with greater frequency, however, we face not only new opportunities to connect, but new dangers in connecting. Every human-constructed environment has a dark side.

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