Girls' fistfight on YouTube a mirror on Internet age society

PALMETTO, Fla. _ YouTube videos of two 16-year-old Florida girls fist fighting and a mother cheering on her daughter have catapulted the incident into an international news story and sparked an intense community discussion: How could a mother bring her child to a fight and then cheer her on?

How could nearly 100 other teens just watch, cheer and shoot video without any of them stepping in to break it up?

What does it say about our society in the Internet age?

"It's heartbreaking to think that an adult would allow her daughter to hurt another child. You're supposed to be a role model," said Manatee resident Karen Long, 45, who has three children between the ages of 14 and 25. "What are you teaching your child about proper behavior? Someone needs to pray for her and that child. It's sad."

The fight broke out on Sept. 17 on a vacant field outside Palmetto and lasted about five minutes. Dozens of teens watched and yelled in excitement _ many recording the action on their cellphone cameras _ as the two battled over an ex-boyfriend, according to authorities.

The tapes were splashed on YouTube, leading to 39-year-old April Newcomb's arrest on a child abuse charge.

"The actions of a high school student getting into a fight is not necessarily news. That's been happening for years," said Newcomb's defense attorney, Kevin Hayslett of Clearwater, Fla..

"Part of the snowball effect of this story is that it was beamed around the world within 24 hours," he said. "Had it not been for the power of the Internet, this would have been a fight the kids talked about at school, but would not have had any lasting consequence for the participants or spectators."

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