Social Media often gets a bad rap. Too much information, invasion of privacy, intrusive…but social media via a Facebook Post saved a Mom and Daughter that had been kidnapped. Forbes posted this story:
E.D. Kain, Contributor
I write about tech policy, nerd culture, and the future.
Mom and Baby Rescued After Facebook Status Update
A Utah woman and her 17-month old son were rescued after a five-day abduction after the woman hid in a closet and posted a Facebook update on a laptop that said she and her son would be “dead by morning” which prompted a call to local police.
At times these horror stories are simply overwhelming. Yesterday we heard about the nine-year-old girl, Aliahna Lemmon, who was killed by a baby-sitter in Indiana. These things are inexplicable and terrifying – especially for those of us who are parents.
So I read about a woman being saved thanks to internet access and social media, and a part of me is thrilled. Social media is changing the world. It’s helping stoke revolutions, topple dictators, and save women from predators.
Maybe there’s an app out there already that could quickly and automatically report an assault or abduction and send the location to police. But there’s also more room for predators to use that same technology to track and harm their victims. It’s a double-edged sword.
More fundamentally, technology is a limited tool. It always has been and it always will be trumped by humanity. Most sexual abuse happens in the home, by family members or trusted friends. The senseless murder of Aliahna Lemmon at the hands of a neighbor is just one of countless examples of this. Technology cannot save us from the monsters that lurk in the bed in the next room.
Technology won’t save us from bad decisions.
But if technology can’t save us, what can?
I am left despondent. So many questions, too few answers. Women’s rights and education; transparency in institutions; increased prosperity – these are all small pieces to the puzzle.
Sexual violence is especially bad in closed communities in isolated areas with low median incomes. You can see it in small town America or the sexual abuse in the Irish Catholic Church. The problem, of course, is that the institution with the least transparency is and always will be the nuclear family.
Somewhere the balance between privacy and the safety of children has to be determined, but it’s almost inevitable that the balance won’t be struck in a way that pleases everyone.
Libertarian writer Andrew Cohen has suggested parenting licenses. I think that we should do everything we can to educate people on parenting skills and other life skills, but such a ham-handed approach is never going to work. Indeed, it’s quite surprising to hear a libertarian suggest such a thing, though certainly the horror stories make me sympathetic to the idea behind the scheme.
In any case, neither technology nor the government can save us from ourselves. I believe we can and will evolve, that our better angels will snuff out the demons eventually. Perhaps tech will guide us on that path. And perhaps stories such as the Utah abduction, as horrible as it is, will give us some hope.
This article is available online at:
Next time you hear someone complaining about social media – you can let them know that it definitely has it’s merits and can even save lives!!!