Addicted to novelty since 2001

Camera Phones and Bad Behaviour

Would you think twice about committing a crime if you knew everyone had a camera? I’ve often wondered if the proliferation of camera phones will have any impact on anti-social or criminal behaviour. Steve Rubel points to a great example:

The Board of Education in Jersey has a major PR nightmare on their hands thanks to a student with a cameraphone. The state may toughen its policy on use of cameraphones in schools, after a videotape [sic] showing a high school teacher screaming at his students to show respect for the national anthem–and then pulling the chair from underneath one student who refused to stand–was posted on several Web sites.

I’m not sure that behaviour is criminal and the kids are clearly being idiots. However, the teacher steps over the line and has had his actions documented. As Steve says, “Nothing is sacred anymore from making it to the Web. What’s inside is outside. Get used to it.” That goes double for Fred Durst.

4 Responses to “Camera Phones and Bad Behaviour”

  1. Java

    What? Kids being idiots?! Whats this world coming to?!!

    The very first documented crime that was resolved with a phone-cam was of a kid (young teen) who took a photo of the license plate of his assumed abductor. It was posted on his blog, and an arrest was made.

    Soooo, are we a society of little brothers yet?

  2. Brian Jones

    I guess the teacher should have invested in a cameraphone and then email a video of the student’s behviour to their parents.


  3. James

    I believe that this story clearly points to the old adage, be careful what you wish for, you just might get it, or, my favourite curse/blessing, may you get what you wish for.

    Without geeking out into the realm of cultural theory too much, a world where everyone can record the behaviour of everyone else is a modern-day, distributed equivalent of the Panopticon, a prison model introduced in the 18th century by Jeremy Bentham.

    “The Panopticon (“all-seeing”) functioned as a round-the-clock surveillance machine. Its design ensured that no prisoner could ever see the ‘inspector’ who conducted surveillance from the privileged central location within the radial configuration. The prisoner could never know when he was being surveilled — mental uncertainty that in itself would prove to be a crucial instrument of discipline.”

    For more details, including drawings and the obligatory Foucault quotation, see:

  4. bunni

    A few years ago I worked with product design students on their senior thesis project. Their theme was privacy in public. One of the phenomena they discovered is that if people are watched on video all the time, they start off shy, but as time goes on they simply forget the camera and indulge in some outrageous behavior. When confronted with the behavior, they responded with shock and disbelief even if they knew from the beginning of the experiment they were being observed. One of those quirky human qualities.

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