A teen’s instinct: record first, tell later

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Child advocates at the Julie Valentine Center deal with situations similar to the Riverside Middle School victim often.

Someone recorded the Greenville County 8th grader, who was drunk at a party, being sexually assaulted.

Kim Ponce with the JVC said it’s easy for teens to pull out their phones, record situations, and not think of the consequences.

“It’s really easy for kids to make impulsive or flippant decisions, but what they don’t realize is once it’s out there, it’s out there for good,” Ponce said.

She said teens have no control over who sees a post or recording once it’s put on social media or sent to other people.

“Understanding that when you see something like this you really need to intervene,” Ponce said. “It’s not an opportunity for you to take a video or have something to post on social media. It’s an opportunity for you to not be a bystander.”

It’s also illegal to film sexual crimes against children. She said in her experience, students don’t realize they can be charged for doing that.

She said it’s important parents have appropriate cell phone and social media use conversations with their children, so they understand the need to speak up for their peers when they see wrongdoings. She said people have to be careful to not re-victimize someone.

“Is that not worse than me maybe not seeming cool to my friends and also certainly not worse than me going to jail for failing to act,” Ponce said.

Advocates at the JVC go into schools to talk about the importance of speaking up and standing up one another.

There is also a website which allows people to report any crime they’ve seen on social media.

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