Fame Could Be a Few Clicks Away



According to a young girl who participated in a forum for teenagers conducted by WiredSafety about "cyberbullying" -- in which people use the Internet to bully or abuse others -- "If you beat up somebody but nobody sees it, you don't gain from that. If you beat up somebody and you film it and put it on the Internet, then everybody can see it and everyone can respect you and everyone can fear you."

Not only did the students in North Babylon draw attention from their fellow students who saw the video on YouTube.com or on MySpace.com but from school officials and police as well. The three attackers were suspended from school until at least April and charged with juvenile delinquency; the boy was suspended for five days and charged with unlawful assembly, a Class B misdemeanor, and is scheduled to be arraigned on March 22.

Another teenager who participated in the WiredSafety forum, Josh, said that people post ever-more shocking pictures and videos on the Internet to gain as much attention, short-lived though it may be, as they can. "So they go that extra step to be shocking so people will go see their video, which outdoes someone else's video. It's all about competition, about who can be the most obscene."

Jenna, another teen who participated in the forum said, "In my school, some high school girls took some pictures of themselves naked from the neck down and sent them to some senior boys in order to get them to ask them out … then the senior boys sent them to friends who sent them to other friends and now it's just all over."

She added that there are many sexually explicit movies on the Internet posted by girls in school and "they just do it so they can get boys to like them and other people think they're cool for being outrageous."

Fame, Whether You Want It or Not

In the cyberworld, some achieve fame and some have fame thrust upon them. Such was the case for "American Idol" contestant Antonella Barba. While taking her initial steps toward fame on the show, she unexpectedly skyrocketed to the forefront last week, thanks in no small part to the Internet.

There has been a media storm over sexually charged photos of Barba recently posted on a Web site called "IDontLikeYouInThatWay.com." There were also sexually explicit photos that the anonymous contributor claimed were Barba.

The less-explicit photos still showed Barba in provocative poses. They were taken from a calendar she had made for her boyfriend, and during a vacation she and friends took to a topless beach. The rest of the photos, according to Barba's best friend and co-contestant, are not her.

Needless to say, while Barba's fame and fate on "American Idol" lies in the hands of "Idol" voters, there is no telling what could lie ahead for her as one of newest, though unintended, winners of the Internet celebrity lottery.

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