Jonathan Lebed article on NYT

From: Emlyn (
Date: Sat Feb 24 2001 - 20:07:08 MST

Having known nothing about this case - Jonathan Lebed, accused of US stock
market manipulation by the SEC - I came across this article on NYT. It is a
stunning piece of writing, I couldn't recommend reading it too highly!

Apart from the interesting plot (the amazing success of this boy), and the
critical analysis of what the stock market is, vs what the SEC thinks it is,
there is a far more important theme explored in the article.

The most interesting thing to my mind is the fact that this young boy dealt
extraordinarily successfully in an adult's world. A key to this was his use
of the internet, because the internet hides identity. This fact of the
internet (now), used as it is to scare the ignorant, usually with talk of
pedophiles and other dangers to the kiddies, is actually an incredibly
liberating and empowering force for children.

I feel, and have expressed here before, that children are treated like
mindless barbarians in general, and can do/achieve very little of substance
usually, due to the predjudice against them in the bricks&mortar world, and
their subsequent lack of buy in (cf teen angst).

However, I've found that in the world of the net, where I now spend a lot of
my waking hours, children have a new found power; the power to mask the fact
that they are children. In this environment, consequent to this ability, I
have met quite a few kids whose age I would never guess, who were more
mature and more intelligent than many, maybe most adults that I
meet.Conversely, I meet many adults online, who I am sure must be kids
because they behave in such a juvenile fashion, only to discover that they
really are my age.

It's been quite a revelation for me, because in the end I'm just as
prejudiced as everyone else. If I meet a kid in the flesh, I more often than
not treat him/her like a kid; that is, a lesser being, a second class
citizen. However, if I meet a kid online, where I can't see the acne spots,
the child's physique, I start with the assumption that I am speaking to an

The article strongly underscores this point; it paints the contrasting
pictures of the sullen teen in the family environment, unremarkable,
unimpressive, versus the confident, intelligent, highly competent online
being, who has created himself a small fortune with utterly minimal
assistance, and in spite of the negative messages from authority (once his
"ruse" had been discovered).

Something has to happen about this treatment of kids. It can't be helpful to
our world at large, and it's devastating to the individuals. I'm sure this
will resonate with many list members, who only have to remember their own

Anyway, read the article!


btw, Here's my new sig; its a bit overblown, my apologies. The site is in
it's v1.0 form, still with much work to do, but it's getting there. I'd
appreciate feedback from those who feel so moved. Thanks.

Mr Emlyn O'Regan - Managing Director
Wizards of AU
"Australian IT Wizards - US Technology Leaders
Pure International Teleworking in the Global Economy"

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