An 18-year-old from Sydney has become the first Nova Scotian to receive a full social media ban from the courts, after violently cyberbullying his ex-girlfriend earlier this year, among other offences.
Dalhousie law professor, Wayne MacKay, said ordering the teenager to delete all of his social media accounts — including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — is a step in the right direction.
“I think it’s a good thing,” said MacKay. “One of the main ways to really affect and change behaviour is to cut people off of social media when they abuse it.”
But, privacy lawyer, David Fraser, isn’t sure if the ban is the best decision.
“Social media is so pervasive in the lives of young people, and it’s so essential to engaging in a meaningful way in the community. You need to be very careful and make sure the proper considerations are coming into play.”
Fraser said social media is the primary way young people communicate with each other.
“It’d be akin to preventing somebody from using the telephone fifteen years ago, for example.”
MacKay said he thinks the ban will be effective as both a punishment and a preventative measure.
The teen is banned from all social media for a span of 21 months, and was ordered to hand over all his online passwords to a probation officer.