Source: Social media, children and the struggles of finding justice for cyber crimes (

In a recent case, a 13-year-old girl was allegedly being groomed on Snapchat, only to have the police captain at the station where the mother reported the crime saying that he didn’t know what the app was.

Social media law expert, Emma Sadleir Berkowitz, speaks to John Perlman about the difficulty of monitoring cyber crimes in the age of social media.

In this fast-evolving world, Sadleir highlights that in many cases, the police are not equipped to deal with these cyber issues and are often not even aware of these social media platforms or the crimes taking place on them.

Even in cases where a clear law does exist, the ill-equipped justice system and the trauma that it exposes victims to makes it almost impossible for victims to seek justice, especially the children who are on social media.

To expose a child to a criminal justice system, which is just riddled with victim blaming and delays and secondary trauma. To be honest with you, if it was my child, I wouldn’t.

Emma Sadleir Berkowitz, Social Media Law Expert

In the last couple of months, we’ve had the Films and Publications Amendment Act, which says non-consensual distribution of private sexual images or videos, [will have] R300,000 fine and four years in prison. That’s great but when you go to the police, they’ve never even heard of this crime.

Emma Sadleir Berkowitz, Social Media Law Expert

In the age of cyber crime where many of the police and judges in the system have not grown up in the digital age and often lack the nuanced understanding of these media platforms, many are opting for vigilantism or naming and shaming to expose perpetrators that they believe will not otherwise face justice.

While this can make the community aware of predators, it can also lead to defamation law suites and false accusations when the law is no longer being used to mediate.

The rise of these crimes and the lack of justice in so many cases has exposed how the current legal system has not evolved at the same pace as the rest of the digital world and it seems the victims are the ones being left behind.

Listen to the full interview below:

This article first appeared on 702 : Social media, children and the struggles of finding justice for cyber crimes


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