When teenage boys ply under-age girls with alcohol to take advantage of them and post demeaning images online of the girls something is seriously wrong.

The incidents we report today put paid to any hope the "roastbusters" case of a few years ago was an isolated offence and that a lesson was learned.

We may be surprised by these recurring cases of sexual abuse by the young - until we consider what is different about growing up today. This generation is growing up with the internet and along with the many wonders of the web comes access to a range of pornographic depravity that boys of previous generations seldom, if ever, saw.

There is a reason pornography always carried an age restriction when that was still possible. Until people are old enough to have real sexual experiences there is a high risk they will mistake fantasy for reality.


Young people today are exposed to contrived images and filmed activity that bear little relation to the reality of loving, respectful sex and most of these kids have no way of knowing that.

Somehow, society needs to combat the power of that fantasy world with an equally powerful message from the real world.

The police opted not to press charges against the youths in the roastbusters case in view of their age. The same leniency is being brought to the offences we are reporting today.

Boys from an unnamed secondary school have escaped punishment for lewd behaviour with almost comatose drunken girls and putting photographs of it on social media.

Patrick Walsh of the Secondary Principal Association is part of the Government group trying to combat cyber-bullying of all kinds. He believes it is time to prosecute these offences.

"In my view, they do need to be charged and convicted and a message sent to teenagers across the country that this is totally unacceptable."

It could be the hard dose of reality young minds need. After the roastbusters case the law against online abuse was strengthened and online sex education programmes promoted the importance of consent and respect. Most young people will be learning these lessons but clearly a few remain impervious to them.

For those few, the trauma of criminal charges and punishment might be the only reality they can understand.


Their parents, too, might need the shock of this happening to make them take a responsible interest in what their sons are watching and posting online.

It is not easy being a parent or a young person in the internet age but time has come to give these boys a reality check.