You can flout the law, defy the law, laugh at the law and do it all with impunity provided you don’t do it publicly as young Australian party hooligan, Corey Worthington Delaney, found out.
Corey became famous as the 16 year old Australian boy who held a party while his parents were away and over 500 people came. As is typical with unsupervised children, the party got out of control and went from bad to worse in direct proportion to the amount of alcohol consumed.
Police were called to quell the drunken mob but they turned on the police causing damage to police cars and necessitating mobilization of reinforcements.
The Australian media, like all good tabloids (and I say that with the utmost contempt), pounced on Corey and gave him his 15 minutes of fame.
Corey, like most males tend to do when they think they are being watched by desirable females, puffed out his chest and swaggered in a manner he was sure would seem manly and tough enough to impress those girls.
“Look at me,” his behaviour shouted, “I’m rough, I’m tough, I don’t say sorry and I don’t fear anything – not even my parents or the law!”
Australia collectively dropped it’s parental jaw and began frothing at the mouth.
The media went after him using typical parental methods such as disapproval and shaming to try and dominate him and he thumbed his nose at them.
As soon as the law saw he was unrepentant they went after him with their own form of parental domination – threats to punish him or his parents.
Corey was not about to back down now. He was a hero to juveniles all over the world and he was not inclined to lose his newfound status so he shrugged the threats off.
That was his mistake. The law will not be trifled with like that and they immediately set to work finding a way to force Corey to regret his actions.
It wasn’t hard. Corey had advertised his party on the internet so it was a given that he would have a computer. It was also a given that he would have a friend over the age of 18 since he had been able to get hold of alcohol.
Do you have a 16 year old boy who has access to the internet?
Trust me when I say, if you do, you have porn on your computer!
Chat rooms allow people to select a picture, called an avatar, to use as a visual representation of themselves. Many of these are pure, sickening, porn because many belong to paedophiles and all sorts of other sexually perverted people! All are saved to the viewers computer ready for the next conversation with that person.
Corey, the police would be aware, may not care about his parents but he would be sure to care about his friends. He could be made to regret his actions through them and he could be stripped of his status as a hero just as fast as he got it.
Teenage girls are not attracted to sleazy creeps who have pictures of naked children on their computers. Media and, indeed, society as a whole regardless of age – loathe paedophiles regardless of how young they may be. Nobody is going to want a known sexual predator running their party! Except, of course, other sexual predators.
All teenage boys have sleazy pictures on their computers. The police simply had to find one of Corey’s main friends who was old enough to be prosecuted and examine his computer using the sleaze on Corey’s to justify looking. There was no chance the police would not find at least one sleazy picture of an underage child given that the definition of child is anyone under 16.
Corey is going to be very sorry he had that party if his young friend goes to court and they are both publicly labeled as sexual predators.
So who is to blame for all this?
No. Corey is a 16 year old child. His actions were predictable and normal. As soon as his friends found out he was going to be home alone they would have begun pressuring him to have a party.
Sixteen year old children don’t have much in the way of impulse control and their main goal in life is to be liked and admired by their peers. Sixteen year old children live in the moment and do not tend to think about consequences until they are faced with them so Corey did not think about what might happen if he posted an open invitation on the internet.
Corey wasn’t thinking about the paedophiles or criminals or idiots who might turn up to case him, case his friends, case his parents belongings or just create anonymous havoc for him. Corey was too busy lapping up the excitement, anticipation, admiration and envy of his friends.
Once upon a time, before the internet, Corey would have had his party and it would have been attended by a couple of hundred local kids and a handful of uninvited hooligans. Damage would have been done but no more than has been done many times before.
Corey, however, is a child of the internet and he foolishly invited all his cyber-friends. Nothing is private on the internet so he invited the world without realising it.
Does that make the internet the culprit?
The internet is a tool and, like all tools, it’s impact depends on the user. A murderer does not need a gun to kill. He can kill with a pillow case. The internet is a society and, like societies all over the world, it has good and bad people.
The problem here is we do not know how to run this society so it is running itself. It has no laws, no rulers, no boundaries except those the user sets.
Corey was, like millions of children all over the world, a child in a strange land wandering without supervision, guidance, or any form of protection. Drop any 16 year old in a strange country and see how fast he will get into trouble if nobody is watching over him!
He should not have been wandering unsupervised.
Aha, you may say, just as I thought – the parents are the guilty ones!
I doubt it.
The internet is, make no mistake here, a foreign country all on its own. It has its own culture and norms and all of them are lawless ones. Murder is the norm on the internet and status is achieved by being the one to kill the most people in the games our children are playing there. Theft is not theft in these games and lies are not lies. Honour has a different face in the internet and integrity is the stuff of weaklings except when it comes to your word.
If you give your word on the internet you can’t back down no matter how stupid or how big a sucker you find out you were. The law on the internet is in the hands of the individual making your word the only contract available. Break it and you will suffer.
You have to talk to the children in these games to understand just how topsy-turvy their morals are and those morals are being fully reinforced in our society.
It’s the bad boys and girls who get the attention and admiration.
How do parents combat that?
They could have tried instilling their own morals, values and code of conduct into Corey but he is sixteen. At 16 all children begin to question what they have been taught, rebel against authority, turn to their peers for guidance and test the limits.
They could have tried cutting Corey off from the internet and his friends but they would have failed.
If he could not access the internet at home he would have simply used the computers at school or at his friends places.
If he had been grounded he could have just climbed out the window, gone home with a friend after school or left home with the help of the homeless young person’s allowance.
The only thing his parents could have done is the very opposite of what people are demanding they do now.
Treat him like a child, take responsibility for him, accept that he is not capable of resisting peer pressure or acting responsibly and refuse to leave him at home alone!
What parent in their right mind wants to believe their sixteen year old son is still just a foolish little child?
Some children have learned to behave responsibly and are capable of resisting peer pressure at sixteen and every parent desperately wants to believe their child is one of them!
Corey’s parents believed in him and they were wrong to do so.
Now Corey is facing the world, the real world, the same way he faces the virtual world of the internet. With shameless bravado and a refusal to be conquered or to toe any line he has not agreed to submit to.
Nobody has taught him the real world does not work the same way as the virtual world. In the real world you are not invulnerable and protected by anonymity and vast distances. In the real world you can be reached and harmed.
In the real world police can label you a sexual predator and ruin your life using material the virtual world has placed on your computer without you realising it.
In the real world the police cannot AFFORD to let you cause havoc and get away with it. If they do they will be facing hundreds of other hooligans doing the same thing and society will come apart at the seams.
In the real world boundaries MUST be set or society cannot survive and the police are the only ones with the power to protect social boundaries.
The problem is, the police have slowly but surely lost their powers and are struggling against all sorts of constraints and limitations to defend social boundaries.
Once upon a time the police could have sorted all this mess out in just a few minutes. They would have taken young Corey and given him a hiding and society would have told him if he didn’t like it he better behave in future. Corey would have learned, at minimal cost to himself and society, to toe the line.
Sadly, all cures to social ills have nasty side-effects, such as all the well documented cases of police brutality.
So who is to blame?
Some have said the internet has revolutionized the world through communication and that is true. The world has no secrets any more because they are all there on the internet from how to make a bomb through to how to molest a child.
The internet cannot be controlled and the sooner we accept that the better.
As soon as we accept we will not be able to effectively police it we will be able to turn our attention, and our research dollars, to finding ways to deal with its effects.
We need to blitz parents with the information they need to realise how powerful the internet is so they will take more interest in who their children are meeting there and what they are learning.
We need to research how to effectively use the internet to offset the socially devastating things people are learning there.
Children are no longer learning their morals and values at home, at school or in their society. They are learning them on the internet and we need to find out how to teach them the things we want them to learn using that same medium!
Communication is the key and that means the media has more power than at any other time in the history of the world.
Corey has become a world-wide celebrity because a couple of local newspapers did not think before they decided what should make the news.
The flame of his celebrity status was fanned by local television shows having nothing better to do than pay attention to a naughty child and give him the viewing footage he needed to become an even bigger celebrity.
As long as naughty boys and girls are rewarded by society with media attention and celebrity status there are going to be more and more naughty boys and girls and their naughtiness is going to go from bad to worse.
In time the local tabloids won’t be interested in printing a story about 500 drunken kids costing the community a fortune in police services. It will have been done to death. To get the fame and adulation the kids will have to come up with something much worse and more costly.
In a world hungry for “News” and lots of it our media is struggling to meet demand so they use anything and everything. They have even sunk to the absolute depths of degradation and turned products into news making some news programmes nothing but advertisements for the latest wonder drug or diet.
The internet has created a new world and we need to do some serious research into that new world if we are going to have any hope of finding ways to combat the social nasties it contains.
It’s vital that we do before more children go from normal to nasty to perverted like young Corey has done.
All he did was have a party. His parents left him home alone and he had a party like billions of 16 year olds have done before him and millions more will do in the future. Without the internet nobody but his immediate neighbours and, perhaps, his parents would ever have known.