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Swatting: the prank that’s serious

Like many Ohio teens and young adults, your children love to play online games, spend time on social media and hang out with their friends. You don’t find this particularly worrisome, since you taught your kids to make smart decisions regarding their activities with their peers. However, as you know, teenagers may take part in unwise behavior if it means fitting in, or they might not realize the potential ramifications of some activities.

Swatting is one such activity that may appear to be harmless, but has serious criminal penalties. You may remember an incident last December, in which a man from Wichita, Kansas, was killed after a California man called in a swatting prank. The event had long-lasting consequences, which are continuing today.

Criminal charges for pranksters

As you may recall, the California man faces charges of making a false alarm to authorities, interference with law enforcement and involuntary manslaughter. He faces significant time in prison if he receives a conviction. Reportedly, two other young men instigated the prank after a dispute over an online game. One taunted the other and gave him a false address. After authorities received information from the Californian that the man at the Kansas residence had killed his father and was holding other family members hostage, they arrived at the address and shot him. The victim was not involved in the gaming dispute.

Talking to teens about illegal jokes

The other two men recently pleaded not guilty to their charges, which included wire fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice. It appeared that none of the men involved realized their actions could have such tragic consequences. You might wonder how to help your children avoid similar penalties. It may help to discuss the incident with them and to stress that the prank of making a false call to authorities is a serious crime.