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The Day the Music Died

Wednesday, 17 November 2010 15:01 in Blogs, Features by Cati Grant

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Music can touch us in a way that becomes immortal in our hearts forever. It can evoke memories and creates a void when it leaves us forever. The anniversary date of the death of celebrated musicians is remembered long afterwards. Sadly, one young talented musician will now stay forever silent after taking his own life, allegedly as a victim of cyber bullying.

The up and coming violinist Tyler Clementi was a freshman at New Jersey’s Rutgers University. He apparently became the victim of a cyber bullying scheme so grand it left most speechless, according to news reports of the events leading up to his death.

We may never know the full extent of what really happened but what we do know is alarming. Take two college roommates and a webcam, add in a social networking site and an absence of sensitivity and the result is such a severe case of invasion of privacy that a young man felt compelled to take his own life. After posting a Facebook message on September 22 that said “Jumping off gw bridge sorry” Tyler plunged to his death off the George Washington Bridge.

So what lead to this tragic incident? Allegedly Tyler’s roommate set up a hidden camera after Tyler asked for some privacy for an evening. The roommate left the dorm as asked and went to a friend’s room and from there secretly watched Tyler during a sexual encounter. Even worse, the event was streamed live over the internet. Needless to such a scenario as this would be a nightmare for any student, male, female, gay, straight, and no matter what ethnicity or heritage. College students have enough to worry about already between school, clubs, and trying to graduate. No one would expect your room becoming a threat to you, your friends, and your safety.

So how can you protect yourself from this happening to you? I have put together a few suggestions:

  • Always when being assigned to dorms, fill out your college roommate questionnaire. Generally the staff really do take that into consideration when pairing students.
  • Try to be continuously aware of your surroundings, especially your room. I know this sounds a little unusual, but you have to make sure your privacy is kept and you are keeping yourself safe.
  • When you do meet your roommate for the first time, be nice! Try to make a good impression, imagine how you will get along during the year, and make a list of dorm rules that you and your roommate agree on.
  • Another good suggestion is being friends with your roommate online and checking to make sure what happens in your dorm room stays in your dorm room! Being aware of the cyber activities of your room mate can help you determine how to protect your own online identity!
  • Make sure if your roommate is recording you or your property in the background to not publish it anywhere. You may also want to make sure to define clear rules that may include no cameras in use while you are in the room and no online information may be displayed about you or the room.

Tyler suspected he was being recorded but had no idea the extent of it until the damage was done. If you ever feel like your room mate is a threat to you on any level, do not hesitate to have campus security intervene. We can only learn from the actions of Tyler’s roommate that no one may be who they appear to be, so take every step to protect yourself!

Doing all of this will get you off to a great start and, perhaps, help you keep it going throughout the year.

Note: The title ‘The Day the Music Died’ was inspired Don McLean’s song ‘American Pie’ which recalls February 3 1959, the day when three American rock and roll musicians: Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, as well as the pilot, Roger Peterson died in a plane crash.

Welcome to the third feature in our series called: "A Teen Talks Cyber Security".

Cati Grant

In a new regular blog series Cati Grant will tackle the subject of cyber security from, and for, the eyes of a teenager.

Despite her young age, Cati is an experienced campaigner against cyberbullying. Cati set up her own website Cati Cares, on her 15th birthday to inform teenagers about Internet Security. Herself a victim of cyberbullying, Cati related her experiences to HostExploit for a posting on National Blue Shirt Day (October 4th). Later that day, Cati appeared on the Dr. Phil TV program to recount her harrowing experiences as a victim of cyberbullying.

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