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I pushed my way through these kids, and ran over to the ambulance. In the back of the ambulance was my son, Jordan. He was partially conscious and covered in blood. . . The paramedic said he had internal bleeding and had to go to the hospital immediately. . . I jumped out of the ambulance and started asking, ‘What happened? What happened? What happened?’
“And that’s when some of the kids ran up to me and said, ‘Look!’ And they showed me a video. It was of my son talking to a friend. And from behind comes this boy, who swings with all his might at my son’s head, and knocks him out. The sound still gives me chills. And down he goes, to the ground. And then you see kids running over — as my son is on the ground, eyes rolled back, and bleeding — and these kids are jockeying for position to take pictures.”
Those are the words of Ed Peisner as he describes what happened to his 14-year-old son Jordan in December of 2016. In what was probably a game of “knockout”, the assailant had planned the attack with accomplices at the ready with cell phone cameras to videotape the shocking event all to generate likes and shares on social media.
And while the attack was obviously criminal, the social media profiteering from it was not. Ed realized that unless someone figured out a way to remove the social media incentive, these horrific acts would continue. And so he did. Ed founded the Organization for Social Media Safety. And together with Marc Berkman, they began lobbying for legal reform.
In one of their first victories, what’s now known as “Jordan’s Law” was passed in the State of California — the first law targeting social-media motivated violence. That law states that if you coordinate with someone to video tape their violent attack and post it on social media that you will be prosecuted as a accomplice.
But in the process of advocating for Jordan’s Law, they learned of a rapidly expanding list of social media-related dangers, like cyberbullying, hate speech, and sexual harassment, which their organization now battles.
Click play above to listen to our conversation and learn how you can protect your own children and help be a part of the solution for others. At the 17-minute mark, Ed and Marc discuss 3 things parents can do right now to protect their kids. Have a listen.
Find out more at https://www.ofsms.org/. And here’s a link to their free safety course: https://courses.ofsms.org/courses/the-buckling-the-social-media-seatbelt-supercourse
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Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on business storytelling, a keynote speaker, and bestselling author.
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