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Teach young about the dangers of Internet obsession

Authorities are investigating 21-year-old Chicago man whose Facebook page had phoyoung girl bound with duct tape which he'd written he'd

Authorities are investigating a 21-year-old Chicago man whose Facebook page had a photo of a young girl bound with duct tape on which he'd written he'd done that to her after she hit him. | The Sun-Times has obscured her face to protect her privacy.

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Updated: September 30, 2012 8:53PM

Last year this time, I resolved to embrace social media and to use it regularly.

That didn’t happen.

I dislike social networking almost as much as I dislike cocktail parties. Recently, I put the responsibility of managing my social media sites in the hands of a young relative.

I just don’t get why so many people want to share so much about their personal business. I mean, why do I care what a stranger got for Christmas?

Frankly, I think the 21-year-old father accused of binding his toddler with painter’s tape is obsessed with the Internet.

Andre Curry became the most reviled father in the world after he posted a picture of his 22-month-old daughter bound and gagged with blue painter’s tape.

He posted the photograph on Facebook under the caption: “This is wut happens wen my baby hits me back.”

No one laughed.

Although Curry’s daughter apparently did not suffer any injuries, Curry was arrested and charged with criminal battery. His family was unable to raise the $10,000 needed for him to walk, so he spent the holidays in county jail.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services opened an investigation; the court ordered Curry not to have contact with his daughter, and to stay off the Internet.

One commenter who responded to this news claimed to have seen other pictures on the Internet similar to the one Curry allegedly posted.

“There is a popular one of a toddler bound by ‘Christmas lights with his mouth taped in front of a Christmas tree, with a sign nearby that says ‘Silent Night,’ ” the commenter wrote on one of the many wesbsites that carried the story.

I’ve talked to Curry’s mother and grandmother. From everything that’s come out, I don’t believe Curry was trying to harm his daughter. I believe he was trying to be funny, and that makes his predicament even more pathetic.

It also makes Curry a cautionary tale.

“Everybody is doing exactly what is supposed to be done when somebody puts tape on a baby’s wrists and ankles,” said Curry’s mother, Brandi Phillips.

“But the baby was not in any danger, was not hurt and never even cried,” she said.

Phillips describes her son as “naive.”

“He did not feel that he was doing something criminal. If he had, he would not have put it on the Internet. But it only takes a second to make one bad decision that can change the rest of your life,” she said.

Curry had no criminal record prior to this arrest. Now — all because he wanted to be an Internet sensation — he is locked up with murderers, rapists, muggers and gang-bangers.

Unlike many parents of the accused, Phillips did not defend her son’s foolish behavior.

“I told my son this is your chance to sit and think. When my son walks out of that jail cell, he will think before he spits,” Phillips said.

But she, too, marveled at the hold the Internet has on young people.

“Today kids think they are supposed to share what they are doing every second of the day.”

Curry’s grandmother, Babette Harper, said her grandson wants to “apologize to the universe.”

“He made a stupid mistake that will probably haunt him for the rest of his life,” she said.

Stepping into social media is like walking into a high school classroom where everyone is trying to get the attention of the cool kids. Some young people will do just about anything to get “hits” on the Internet, including engaging in tasteless behavior.

But with the number of children that go missing each year, it is surprising that so many people share videos and photographs of their kids on social networking sites.

I will never fully appreciate the Internet. But young people can’t live without it.

Although it may seem like common sense, make sure the young people in your life understand the rules that apply to this fantasy world.

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