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12-year-old gets probation for Facebook cyberstalking

Reuters file

That's right, you read the headline correctly: A 12-year-old was given probation Wednesday after being charged with cyberstalking a former "friend" on Facebook.

The defendant, from Issaquah near Seattle, also was charged with first-degree computer trespassing for using the victim's password information to get into her Facebook account in order to post sexually explicit content on the girl's page.

There's a second defendant in the case: She's 11. She was "sent to the Juvenile Court Diversion Committee, which will order her to complete community service," according to a report in The Seattle Times.

If you've been following this so far, you may have been wondering: How is it that such young teens are even on Facebook? The social networking site has a minimum age of 13.

But, Consumer Reports recently found that of the 20 million minors who use Facebook, 7.5 million are younger than 13, and 5 million are younger than age 10.

The age restriction "violation" was the least of the defendants' problems.

As often happens with teen-age friendships, this one, among the girls, went south. The repercussions, however, in the age of menacing mouse clicks, went viral.

Prosecutors said the victim had "been at the home of one of the defendants in early March when she logged into Facebook," the Times said. The victim's "password information was somehow stored on the girl's computer." When things turned ugly, the defendants used the victim's Facebook password " 'with the intent of embarrassing and tormenting the victim,' police said."

They not only posted explicit photos, but sent out solicitations for sex. Despite the family's deleting the postings, they've been copied and reposted elsewhere and everywhere.

The 12-year-old defendant is getting counseling and is allowed to use the computer during the next six months, but must be supervised by a responsible adult, according to KING 5 News.

The mother of the victim listened to what seemed to be a heartfelt apology from the 12-year-old in court Wednesday. But she was unmoved.

"We are still dealing with a lot of damage control," the mother told the TV station.

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