Oakland County Prosecutor Addresses Digital Danger With Middle School Students
The prosecutor warned the students that nothing is ever deleted once posted to the Internet via social media. She also advised that the hard drive of a computer can be seized by law enforcement and explained the trove of information that resides on such devices.
The wide-ranging talk covered sexting, how to exercise proper caution when online, and the recent case in Brandon where a student hacked into an after-school app to post violent threats that included references to the Colombine massacre. Often, coming of age in the post-modern world now involves facing certain digital realities.
With a compelling digital backdrop for her presentation, the primary thrust of Jessica Cooper's address to the middle school students was the dangers of sexting one another. She warned students of the serious felonies of: possession, distribution and solicitation of child sexually explicit materials and the steep penalties those convicted could face. She cautioned students that deleting such images does not make the problem go away.
Recently, Cooper's office has exercised its prosecutorial discretion to bring charges against a large group of middle school and high school students in Rochester Hills. The students were sending nude images of themselves to one another through their cell phones.
No one wants to witness the witch-hunt that could result from mass prosecutions of teenagers; that was not the point of Cooper's message. Rather, the digital youth culture needs to scale back some of its reckless nubile abandon in our digital age.
We here at the Law Blogger applaud the prosecutor's efforts in the Educating Our Youth initiative. With an overburdened schedule, Madame Prosecutor is finding the time to personally take her serious message to the youth who need to hear it the most.