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Consequences of misusing social media

Posted at: 12/10/2012 10:31 PM
Updated at: 12/10/2012 11:26 PM
By: Lynette Adams

Posting certain words and messages online may not only be hurtful and get you in trouble with your peers, but you may also find yourself in trouble with the law.

A Greece teen was arrested and charged with harassment after police say he posted a video online. The video is full of foul language, racial slurs and police also call it threatening. Officers say 18-year-old Nick Robare is heard on the video and he has been charged with aggravated harassment.

News10NBC took a closer look at crossing the line from offensive to criminal under cyber bullying laws.

The video not only attacks a teenage African American boy, but it also makes fun of a girl who was murdered by her father last summer. The biggest problem is the threats made in the video and where the video ended up.

Shawn: Bye bye hoodie.
Nick: Yeah that's your (expletive) hoodie (expletive).
Shawn: You (expletive).
Nick: Talk (expletive) and then don't do (expletive).

On fire is a sweatshirt that belonged to a teen named Alex. This is a video taken by three teens in a feud with Alex. Police say one of the voices in the video is Nick Robare. In the video, he is trying to light a cigarette on the flames.

Shawn: “Bye bye hoodie. Slow roasting.”

Robare is now possibly facing a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail. Greece Police arrested him for aggravated harassment. Police say the video is threatening and it ended up on Alex's Facebook page.

Elaine Spaull, Center for Youth, said, “You are treading on very dangerous legal grounds when you use the internet and social media in this way.”

Elaine Spaull is the executive director of the Center for Youth. She says her staff is dealing with more cases involving teens and the internet. She says teens may be prepared for the consequences of misusing social media.

Spaull said, “We understand that there is a painful dilemma that comes with this, with often tragic and we've seen tragedies as a result of these behaviors. We are not prepared to have our children treat each other this way, but we see it more and more.”

The law prohibits communicating threats of any kind electronically and now New York State and Monroe County have passed cyber bullying laws that will make it that much easier to prosecute people who harass and bully others. The other teens involved have apologized.

Michelle Hare, Alex's mother, said, “I think this is a moment for a teachable moment for parents and our kids to teach children about the associations that they make and not to make heinous videos and post them on line. This isn't the first time.”

The two other voices in the video, including the person who shot it, belonged to Shawn Petrilli and Amanda Farabella. They are not facing charges at this time and they have apologized for the racial slurs and say they acted without thinking.