Surely Jessi Slaughter Could Have Benefited from an Anti-Cyberbullying Game

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about "Jessi Slaughter", a.k.a. "Kerligirl13", and her controversial attention-seeking videos on Youtube and other video sharing sites. Now, it’s nothing new for kids to act like fools on Youtube. But Jessie took her videos just a bit too far, and the Internet struck back.

After becoming something of an internet meme for posting threats like "I’ll pop a glock in your mouth and make a brain slushie" she aroused the unstoppable ire of /b/, which began a campaign of trolling her videos. And so it began, with /b/ posting her personal information, and bombing search engine results to make things like "Did Jessi Slaughter’s dad give her PCP?" a trending topic. You know, the usual stuff.

The interesting thing here is not really Jessi Slaughter’s story. She’s just a flash-in-the-pan attention-seeker, like many before her and many after her. The interesting thing is the level of public attention that the story has gotten and how it has the potential to affect online gaming. Let’s be honest, who among us hasn’t had to listen to some foul mouthed 11-year old’s verbal tirade on Xbox Live, even for the few seconds it takes to mute them.

While Jessi’s behavior may be new and shocking to non-gamers, it’s pretty much the same old trolling that gamers have been dealing with since the first Halo games. Cyberbullying expert Parry Aftab went on Good Morning America to discuss the videos and offered some tips for how parents could prevent this kind of behavior — namely teaching kids and parents to stop responding, take a few minutes for a breather, block the persons involved, tell their parents and if there are serious threats, report them to the authorities (Ed. though Aftab herself was apparently bullied into cancelling a follow up appearance on GMA).

So is this a chance for the games industry to teach a positive lesson to non-gaming society? We’ve previously covered Aftab’s GDC lecture on how games can help prevent violence and cyberbullying. Such a game seems like it would have been absolutely appropriate for this misguided young girl to play (and probably her father as well) and could have prevented this whole debacle. Instead, we get things like 11-year old emo tweens pretending to be gangstas and people murdering each other over Facebook feuds.

Another wasted opportunity for change.

Dan Rosenthal is lawyer and analyst for the video games industry

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  1. 0
    whiston532 says:

    She’s a victim in the same way that a person in a suit of $100 bills who walks through a poor neighborhood is of getting jumped.

    Yes the person is by definition a victim. But if you put yourself in a certain situation you need to be ready for the consequences. Even if they are rather harsh.

  2. 0
    Papa Midnight says:

    <blockquote>The people who contacted her parents to warn them that they might want to keep a closer eye on her are about the only people who deserve praise in this situation.</blockquote>

    This is indeed true. The sad part is it likely fell on deaf ears, based on observation at least.

    <blockquote> But more to the point, what’s the grownups’ excuse — either the parents’ or the /b/tards’?  They DEFINITELY should have known better.</blockquote>

    I don’t disagree with you on this, but I definitely cannot absolve her of all blame, despite her age. It’s intricate. Do I belive the response was overblown? Certainly. Do I believe it could’ve been handled better on the part of all parties involved? Most Definitely. But do I believe her age renders her a get-off-free card? With regard to the sheer ferocity of her initial comments and initial response and the level of profanity used, I cannot do so. Do I judge her? Like you, I do not know her and cannot, and therefore do not. But I can make observations based upon what I’ve seen and that’s what I base my statements on. But that said, I reiterate, I don’t believe all the parties involved showed much of a level of maturity in this process.

    If anything, it just further goes to show the level to which a person or group of persons will go with the assumption of a veil of anonymity.

    Papa Midnight

  3. 0
    Thad says:

    Her age DOES get her off the hook legally (and, if I’m not mistaken, the guy in Bedford got smacked down).  As for ethically?  Hell, I don’t know her, I’ve never met her, that’s not for me to say.  Every child is different; you and I may have had the maturity to know how to behave appropriately on the Internet when we were 11, but that doesn’t mean every 11-year-old is at that same level.  I’d be a lot less sympathetic if she were 16, but she’s a little girl; no matter how odiously she behaved, she didn’t deserve the response she got.

    Her parents are clearly clueless, and most of the /b/ response was totally inappropriate, the person pretending to be a policeman included.  (The people who contacted her parents to warn them that they might want to keep a closer eye on her are about the only people who deserve praise in this situation.)

    Yeah, this should be a teaching moment for a little girl who probably should have known better.  But more to the point, what’s the grownups’ excuse — either the parents’ or the /b/tards’?  They DEFINITELY should have known better.

  4. 0
    Papa Midnight says:

    That’s actually somewhat inaccurate as it actually was not /b/ who picked it up first, nor is it entirely true that the first group to pick up her information which she posted herself, for the record.

    The first group to pick it up, which was her own fault (as she started their first), was StickyDrama. But it was Tumblr and /b/ whose attention she truly caught. /b/ more so as the general moral compass there tends to leans more towards what some might find as less socially acceptable. But /b/’s moral compass is not entirely bad as they were rather disgusted with the fact she was posting child pornography of herself in sexually provacative situations while nude. No 11 year old should be doing these things. Some persons from /b/, beyond the general pranks, even called the parents asking them why they allow these things. One person called posing as a representative of the police department. Now while his actions were illegal (posing as an officer of the law is not exactly legal), his intentions were not bad (and said conversation was uploaded and posted to /b/ as well).

    Now most people blame the parents while absolving the girl of all guilt. I respectfully disagree. To say that the girl was in no way wrong is just naive and incorrect in my opinion. I doubt her parents gave her the camera, told her to go on YouTube, and tell everyone "I’ll pop a glock in your mouth and make brain slushie". This, for her and her parents, should’ve been a PERFECT opportunity for a lesson of consequences, and the inevitable reaction to all actions (aka: Basic Universal Law, or as some like to call it: Karma). But nope, they instead actually retaliated and made things worse. Now any one of us should know right now that such is not the best method of attack and that it could’ve been handled a lot better, but a lesson learned hard is the best lesson learned, I suppose.

    Don’t get me wrong, though. I absolutely do not absolve the parents in any way, shape, or form. If anything, they are just as prone to blame from me as they essentially gave the girl a computer (I won’t discuss supervision as I was not supervised when I had a computer and a webcam when I was 11 but you didn’t see me posting vicious rants to message boards), a webcam, an ethernet cord or WiFi adapter, put her in her room, closed the door, and made the internet her baby sitter. Their reaction (see: Her dad, plus her mom, plus her mom on the phone with the fake cop) further proves the point that they seem to be naive to the internet and what exactly their daughter has being engaging in, not to mention the illegal activity she’s engaged in which would have any other person sitting in prison. If she had that one judge in Bedford who’d been taking a rather nasty stances on sexting by teen girls, she’d be in one hell of a position. Mind you, she placed any person who viewed her videos in the position of having possessed child pornography. Not cool.

    Now, some would retort against me with the point that "she’s only 11" and other various but similar arguments, and I’ve indeed heard this over the past couple of weeks and acknowledge this fact, but I also acknowledge the fact that when I was in Middle School and High School quite some time ago, I watched the social dynamic and I can tell you that people that age can be downright evil and pretentious, and some are in desperate need of a reality check. Now she may have gotten more than necessary, but she got a reality check all the same. But she has failed to learn the lesson from it, it would seem to me. I should also mention she posted all her own personal information, plus theirs her now-non-existent Facebook and MySpace accounts. But this is the internet, nothing even disappears just because you delete it from one place.

    I’m just ranting at this point, and my points are becoming more jumbled and ambiguous, so I’ll call it a day by saying all parties involved could handle this a lot better, and some people need a reality check to the ways of the world and the internet. I’d hate to see her high school, university, and job outlook later in life….

    For a point of reference, a collection of the videos and a complete history, check here:

    Papa Midnight

  5. 0
    Andrew Eisen says:

    "Didn’t she post it herself?"

    Not according to this article.

    "And so it began, with /b/ posting her personal information…"


    Andrew Eisen

  6. 0
    Papa Midnight says:

    Coincidentally, I proved that theory back in the days of, Penny Arcade just revolutionized it.

    And yes, it can be argued that there was nothing anonymous about her, but frankly she believed she was. She learned the hard way that on the internet, nothing is sacred.

    Papa Midnight

  7. 0
    Thad says:

    So wait, who are you saying is the bully here, the belligerent 11-year-old girl, or the grown-ass men posting her personal information on the Internet?


  8. 0
    Rodrigo Ybáñez García says:

    I think that the cyberbullying was a secundary problem on this matter. It was more about the reckless use of the internet which provoked the massive flamming, and of course, her useless and ignorant parents, who even after this incident, looks that they just don´t care what is her daughter doing on the internet, brilliant stuff like posting half-naked pictures of her and treatening trolls with putting a glock on their mouths and make brain slushie.

    Trolling a target like that is just irresistible. Jessie just activated a bomb and she didn´t cared.

    And her age isn´t an excuse either. Many people behave like that on the internet and they don´t get the 10% of the trolling that Jessie recieved on their entire life. That´s because they are smarter than Jessie.

    Right now Jessie still have her Youtube account she opened after this disaster and even a Twitter account, proving that her parents are just a couple of lazy idiots which don´t care about the welfare of their daughter and anything that need any kind of supervision they won´t do it.

    At the end, Jessie got what she wanted: the attention of everybody.


    ———————————————————— My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship):

  9. 0
    Archgabe says:

    These kids need to learn that the internet is not a place for them to act like an ass.  No matter what you do after the fact, once you post it you put it out there for everyone to see and if you act like an ass you will be treated as such.  If I remember correctly she did the exact wrong thing.  She goaded her attackers and on the internet that is a very dumb thing.  That is like hitting a hornet nest with a stick.  I hate to say it but she really brought it on herself and her dad was no help.  He just made it worse.

    I think it was penny arcade that did the comic about Normal Person+anonimity=raging f#%t@rd.

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