It goes without saying that youth are exploiting new technological developments (even though everyone is saying it). I wondered if you all saw the story from Maryland over Christmas break discussing how teenagers are punking their peers by impersonating their vehicles while flying past speed cameras. This is done by taking a digital photo of an “enemy’s” license plate, printing it out with a laser printer, and taping that sheet of paper onto their own license plate. Then, they drive past cameras that cannot distinguish between real license plate numbers and the laser-printed ones. Called “speed pimping,” it leads to a $40 citation for the victim. So, this begs the question we’re always wrestling with as we work with IT companies, educators, and parents – do we just need better technology, or do we need more education and the teaching of ethics and morals, or do we just shrug it off because adolescents will always pull pranks like this?
Also, could this be considered a form of cyberbullying? The article makes me think of how some other misbehaviors might be “staged” in a creative fashion by youth using hardware and software to make “evidence” that incriminates another person. We’ve already heard of impersonation where images of parents’ signatures are inserted by their kids into official documents they (the parents) are to sign. And we’ve heard of youth impersonating their peers through sites that anonymize emails and text messages – which sometimes has led to conflict and violence in the real world. When we discuss various forms of cyberbullying, impersonation is rare as compared to other types. I’m thinking, though, that it’s a pretty serious form that merits closer examination. I also wonder if policy and practice needs to be targeted and specific in highlighting the wrongfulness of impersonation, or simply addressed through general prevention and response strategies for cyberbullying….