Let's imagine for a moment that you have a teenager who has heard about a place called YouTube. All of his friends are on the site blogging on video about their lives and sharing videos and basically having a good time. This same teenager who used to go outside and play along with his friends has now subscribed to them online and is talking to them through his webcam.
You, unaware of your teenager's growing obsession, decide to allow this to pass. Weeks go by, then months. The teenager you once knew holds a sour face at the dinner table and sometimes even appears to be upset when you ask him about school or real-life interests.
Being the concerned parent, you talk to friends about your teenager's changing attitude. They tell you stories about the site known as YouTube. You hear the words "bullying" and "hate comments". They tell you to check your teen's computer and search for clues for such definitions.
Somehow you find a way to get your teenager away for a few hours. You go through his email client program and find several messages from YouTube with the subject field of each with a rather negative and hurtful heading. You click on the link to his inbox on YouTube and find that he is still signed into his account.
What you see is horror beyond belief.
There are dozens and dozens of messages all of which speak ill of your child. Some even suggest that his life isn't worth living and that he should go and kill himself. You manage to find his main channel page and find comments of a similar nature there.
Worse still, you find that these people leaving the comments are the very friends that your child hangs out with.
You decide to be brave, suck in your gut, and watch some of the videos he recorded. The first few start out with everyday things: musical tastes, relationships, and some random videos of your child doing nothing. But the newer videos have a different tone.
The newer videos feature your child in a more depressed state and very sensitive. You notice some of them are linked in response to other videos. A mere click on the original video takes you to a channel of one of the friends your child has that you noticed in one of the nasty emails left in the child's inbox.
What you find is even more horrible than the messages.
You find that this friend, someone who knows every bit of your child's personal life, has decided to put your child on blast, even going so far as to suggest what was suggested in the many emails — that your teenage son needs to end his life to clear the way for those who are more important. You know as a parent that you can call on his parents to stop him from saying such things about your child and to stay away from your child.
But, you also know the child may take this action as a means of being nosy and controlling. Just at that moment you see a flag button which allows you to mark a video inappropriate for the site. You mark the video under the category of "bullying" and do so on other videos that you find that are negative towards your child.
You feel as a parent that YouTube has given you the ability to take control of bullies on the Internet in the same way that you can with bullies who bother your child at school. You come back to your child's computer days later while he is out somewhere and return to his YouTube account. You ignore the messages because your main focus is the video content his so-called friends decided to upload to bring your child down.
You go to the channels to find the videos you flagged and find that rather than being taken down, they have merely been given a warning, one that asks to confirm your birth date. You are perplexed. "Aren't they watching these horrible things?" you think to yourself.
You decide to do it some more to make them pay attention to your problem.