You may have heard that violent crimes are trending down in the United States. But considering the amount of time the average American spends online each day, should we now be concerned about digital violent crimes?
There is no denying that the internet can be violent place. And while this does not always consist of physical violence, digital violence can lead to physical violence and other unfortunate circumstances in the real world.
How Digital Violent Crimes May Be Overlooked
Are violent crime stats down only because everyone is online these days? Added to the fact that people have exchanged physical interactions for virtual ones is the fact that our definitions for violence have now changed. I have talked about this before, but I think it merits revisiting.
Many violent crimes—particularly those committed against our kids—are no-longer defined as violent. But beyond changing definitions, the playing field has changed too. If a kid is bullied online, this is not logged as violent either—even if it is sexual harassment, solicitation, or even suicide prompted by digital bullying. Yes, stats can lie. And our digital world is creating many more potentially violent crimes if our kids ever do get outdoors again.
Picture provided by: futureatlas.com (originally posted to Flickr as “Citation needed”) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons