Harrowing trial is stark warning of dangers that lurk not just online
BOYS. That’s what has been occupying the minds of all of us over the past days and weeks. 14-year-old boys, who were 13 when they killed a beautiful 14-year-old girl who should have had her whole life ahead of her. Specifically, Boy A and Boy B as they are called, and their court names are important here.
It emerged on Thursday that a boy had been wrongly identified online as one of the killers. And the internet has been central to the reporting of the case, which has focussed on Boy A’s obsession with pornography. Some 40,000 pornographic images were discovered on his phone; degrading, violent sexual images which, parents everywhere believe, have no place anywhere near the eyes of a child.
Tanáiste Simon Coveney said the State needs to get involved in protecting vulnerable children and young people from cyber bullying and pornographic material.
Mr Coveney admitted that it was a very difficult issue to get right, but he said he hoped to have legislation introduced by the end of the year.
The problem is it won’t work. The reality is that teenage boys will watch porn. Any child or teenager who knows anything about technology can get around the ban on under18s accessing porn, as has been borne out in the UK, whose regulatory watchdog has acknowledged virtual private networks (VPNs) will allow users to evade age verification checks from July 15 by allowing
under-aged users to create ghost accounts abroad that can access the porn sites.
The case has also led to the spewing of bile online calling for the boys to be named and shamed because that really worked in the case of Jamie Bulger’s killers!
A beautiful life was snuffed out by two boys. Ana Kriégel died in an act of violence straight out of a horror movie. The remote, abandoned location chosen by Boy A for the murder, the way she was lured from the safety of her home by Boy B to certain violence, if not murder, the sexual violence inflicted on Boy A’s 14-year-old victim, this was all shocking. The detail the trial brought to light truly terrifying.
The victim at the heart of the story – a young girl who couldn’t fit in, no matter how hard she tried – is someone just like countless other teenagers around us. Being different has never been easy, but social media has added a whole new dimension; and a whole new avenue for bullies to find a way in to manipulate and gain power over people who make them uncomfortable in their skin.
Bold moves as being piloted in St Brigid’s NS in Greystones should be tried in an attempt to break down the narrow definition of normal that has, and still yet pervades, within Irish society.
As harrowing and upsetting as the details of Ana’s case are, this is not a time for knee jerk, hang ‘em high, name and shame reactions, or quick fire government solutions. Violence, whether we like it or not, is part and parcel of life and some children are born with a lack of empathy which leads them to commit violent acts. The sexual violence inflicted on Anastasia Kriégel, whose first name means resurrection, has caused people to make a direct, contiguous link between porn and violence, but the adopted Russian teen fell victim to a darkness within.
Ana Kriégel, whose life was snuffed out in an act of shocking violence.