Half truth is very very dangerous… and is very very very common on Internet and facebook!

Two days before I was really shocked by a group invitation on facebook named: “Memory of 3yr oldtruth Jamie Bulger PLEASE READ!”. It was shocking to me remembering this disgusting murder. Little Jamie Bulger was only 3 years old when kidnapped by two 10 years old boys. According to this facebook group: “They took Jamie on a walk for over 2 and a half miles, along the way stopping every now and again to torture the poor little boy who was crying constantly for his mummy. Finally they stopped at a railway track where they brutally kicked him, threw stones at him, rubbed paint in his eyes, pushed batteries up his anus and cut his fingers off with scissors. Other mutilations were inflicted but not reported in the press.“. This facebook group is a call to protest against the fact that “This week Lady Justice Butler-Sloss has awarded the two boys (now men), anonymity for the rest of their lives when they leave custody with new identities.” (as reported in this facebook group.

After reading the above I felt angry and craving to join the group. I were remembering the incident from the news, but I wasn’t remembering these brutal details. However, suspicious as usual by what I see on Internet I decided to check the facts twice from other sources. At wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_James_Bulger among others I found that: “They then placed batteries in his mouth . False reports claiming the batteries were pushed up his anus were spread by a chain letter. The letter also claimed that Bulger’s fingers were cut off using scissors; this is also untrue. James suffered skull fractures as a result of the iron bar being struck around his head; this wound is believed to have caused his death.” Jamie Bulger case deserve great attention as it is. There is no need for extra false details. And the worst is that may be the the creator of this facebook group doesn’t know that his/her story is partially true and participates in the propagation of this false (half true) information.

I think wikipedia cannot be fully trusted (as everything!) and I have to triple check. However I like to state here that on internet very often we read partially true information. And although with normal lies is relatively easy to recognize them, this is not the case when we confront half truth. With half truth, or partially truth, the true part of the information invokes part of our previous experiences, knowledge or rationality. A major problem in society is to distinguish between lies and truths, to check the validity of digital information sources. In Hybrid Society and in virtual settlements this problem is even more hard to cope with. And I think modern adolescents, true digital natives, are really exposed to information traps like the described above, unless they receive proper education and instruction to handle the today’s “information mess”. Are the educational systems ready to handle digital challenges?

At this point an ancient Greek philosopher advises us: Ώσπερ γαρ την μέλιτταν ορώμεν εφ’ άπαντα μεν τα βλαστήματα καθιζάνουσαν, αφ’ εκάστου δε τα βέλτιστα λαμβάνουσαν, ούτω δει και τους παιδείας ορεγομένους μηδενός μεν απείρως έχειν, πανταχόθεν δε τα χρήσιμα συλλέγειν.


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