Jewish Journal


September 30, 2010

Another social media suicide? Time for an 11th commandment



Tyler Clementi

In assembling the 10 Commandments of Social Networking, I aimed to offer guidance for everyone. Hyperconnected? Take a tech Sabbath. Related to a technophobe? Pay a visit, make a call or send an actual letter.

But reading about another tragic suicide that looks to have been set into motion by social media usage, it’s clear that more laws governing online usage are urgently needed. New criminal categories need to be established to punish those who torment others to the point of suicide—whether they do so online or “on land.”

But since the legal system moves slowly, I offer the following commandment, in memory of Tyler Clementi, and Rigoberto Ruelas:

11. Please, don’t kill yourself over something that happens online.
When he spoke to me a few weeks ago, Sam Gliksman, director of educational technology at New Community Jewish High School said “The morals of your virtual life should be no different than the morals of your real life.” New rules aren’t really needed—so here are two old ones:

To those who would torment others, remember, “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.” (Hillel in the Babylonian Talmud)

And to despondent freshmen, depressed schoolteachers, bullied teenagers, and all those who would do themselves harm: “This too shall pass.” (Attributed to King Solomon and to Persian Sufi poets)

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