Wayne Forrester, a 34-year-old lorry driver was from Croydon was jailed for life today after admitting that he killed his wife, Emma. In mitigation he claimed that it was what Emma wrote on Facebook that drove him to his actions.
Before we know it politicians will be arguing there should be limits on Facebook and they’ll want the Internet controlled in some way. There will be radio phone-ins on the “dangers” of Facebook – and I’m sure I’ll start getting calls from the media soon for my comment on the situation.
So let’s take a look at what Wayne actually said. He told the court that what Emma wrote on Facebook “made her look like a fool”. He added that “I felt humiliated about what she had done to me”.
These statements reveal what psychologists call the “locus of control”. We all have one – essentially we fall in between two extremes. One is where we believe the world controls us – and the other is where we believe we are in control. Many murderers have issues with control – it’s a common feature. So, here we have a man who admits murder but is still suggesting that the control for his actions were external – at the same time as revealing he wanted to have a degree of control over his wife. We should also remember he admits being fuelled by illicit drugs at the time of the attack.
So, no matter what nonsense you hear from politicians in the coming days in their knee-jerk reactions, you can rest assured that Facebook is not responsible for murders. People are.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+