In January, Nadin Khoury, a 13-year-old from Pennsylvania, suffered a beat-down at the hands and feet of a group of bullies who intended to post the video on YouTube. Social media sites, such as Facebook and YouTube, have been under fire as attack sites used by teens to bully and harass their peers, but Nadin was able to use this video to help catch six of his attackers.
Khoury, whose family recently immigrated to the United States from Liberia, endured 30 minutes of brutality, in which his bullies repeatedly kicked and punched him. They hung him, by his clothing, upside down from a tree and from a six-foot fence. The attack didn’t stop until a woman passing by came back and was able to chase the boys away form their victim.
The six attackers caught, ages 13 to 17, face charges of kidnapping, false imprisonment and reckless endangerment.
Other Teen Attackers Caught on Video
There are previous instances of other attacks on teenagers being caught on video. One such incident is the 2008 attack on 16-year-old Victoria Lindsay. The teen had to seek hospital treatment for injuries. Victoria was lured to a friend’s house for the purpose of catching the attack on tape, to post to MySpace and YouTube.
Police learned of the video and were able to use it to identify the female suspects involved in the plot. Eight girls, ages 14 to 18, were charged with false imprisonment and battery.
Phoebe Prince’s Bullies Caught on Facebook
Phoebe Prince is another teen immigrant, from Ireland, who was also relentlessly bullied by her classmates. The vicious assault came in part through text messages and via Facebook. In January 2010, the 15-year-old committed suicide in her family’s Massachusetts home as a result. On the day of her death, one of her alleged attackers posted “accomplished” on Phoebe’s Facebook page. Six teens were arrested in the case, on charges of relentless bullying, identified in part by Facebook postings.
Prince’s case is another example of how bullies can be caught through the social media they use to harass their targets. Such bulling would not have had as much proof in the past, with most of the evidence being hearsay, leaving little evidence to charge bullies for their crimes.
Anti-Bullying Awareness Spreads on Social Media
Anti-bulling advocates are using the social media platforms used to harass teens to spread the message against bullying. They are turning these social platforms into a means to prevent the crimes from ever happening, not just as a means to catch attackers. The It Gets Better Project is a YouTube channel geared toward telling LBGT teenagers that their lives will improve and not to give up hope. The videos also spread the message that bullying teens who are perceived as different is not okay.
The channel is a response to an outbreak of suicides of LGBT teenagers, such as 15-year-old Billy Lucas, who hung himself in his grandmother’s barn. Lucas was called a “f–” by bulling classmates and told to go kill himself.