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When Social Media Feuds Prove Deadly

19-year-old Myzell Armstrong of Smyrna, Georgia has been sentenced to four years in prison and 20 years probation following an altercation with other teens over insults traded over social media. Armstrong and two of her friends confronted three other girls who arrived in a car to settle the dispute. Armstrong’s friends tossed hot oil into the car, permanently scarring one of the girls.

What happened here? Old school teenage squabbles used to happen on the playground as a result of passed notes in class and misinformation. Now personal disputes are being made public in this digital age, leaving young girls feeling pressured to prove themselves to their friends in ways that are more drastic than a hallway stare down. Has social media proven to be the stage our teenagers will use to showcase their dramatic breakdowns?

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These kids are filming themselves destroying property, pulling outrageous pranks and assaulting each other all for the sake of views and likes. It was pretty bad when your entire town knew that Suzy beat you up, but it is devastating when the world watches you crumble under a sonic punch.

How loudly does a snarky Instagram mention reverberate through the universe?

Let’s not overlook the fact that Armstrong was with two other friends when the attack happened. Her role was merely to open the door and allow another friend to throw the hot oil inside the car, yet the two other girls involved in the assault along with Armstrong were not charged. Armstrong received the full brunt of the punishment for this gruesome crime, and the young lady who has been permanently disfigured will always remember it as well.

The fact that teens feel the world is judging their every tweet makes it difficult to back down when a public insult is made. Going so far as to burn someone with hot oil is exactly the kind of retribution that viral stardom is made of. How far will teens go for a thousand retweets? How loudly does a snarky Instagram mention reverberate through the universe?

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My heart aches for the damage that youngsters like Armstrong will have to recover from because of their inability to tone down the importance of words shared through social media. Sticks and stones may break your bones but when it comes to social media—words can hurt you for life.

Image via WSBTV

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