A friend of mine’s daughter goes to a local junior high school. She told me that last week there was tension building between a big guy and a little guy. Rumors were flying, and at some point the “appointment” for a fight was made for after school. The kids all headed to the back of the school for a voyeurfest (is that a word?). Her daughter had a friend that wanted to go. Her daughter stood her ground and said “I’m not going and you shouldn’t either”. The girls didn’t go (way to go KD). It proved to be a really good decision. One of the boys was hurt pretty bad. Lots of kids were videotaping the incident. That night the social media storm took over. Status and comments were flying all over facebook as people were watching the videos. The next day the principal found out about this, watched one of the videos, and started reading the comments. She promptly started calling the students who took the videos into her office. Next she called in the students who were “in” the videos and even students who commented if the comments indicated that they were at the event. Thirty plus kids were suspended.
Now if you know which school this happened at please don’t comment on that. My focus is on the event and the outcome and the lesson to be learned. Kudos to the principal for being aware and not being afraid to dig deeper and take action. Let this be a lesson to all of the kids who were watching and not doing anything about it. Also to the kids who videotaped something like this, thought it was cool, and didn’t expect any ramifications. When we post something out into “cyber space” it becomes fair game (remember all of the nude pictures of some of the teenage stars? We thought that they deserved it didn’t we?). What about the lady who was charged because she was commenting and bullying a young girl who later committed suicide. Better to learn this lesson in Junior High when two kids were fighting then to learn it in a much more disastrous form.
I have heard of people not getting jobs because of facebook posts. People get divorced because of facebook posts and “friends”. Potential employers look at the social media outlets and see what they might have missed when we have our “interview” faces on. This technology allows us to be part of each other’s lives in such a unique way, but it can also be detrimental if we don’t act like grownups when we use it. We also need to teach our kids that there are rules that go along with the PRIVILEGE of using such technology. We also have to remember that our kids are NOT grownups. They need to be checked up on, talked to and monitored. I wrote a blog about my oldest daughter getting her first cell phone. There are rules that go along with her use of the cell phone. One of them was that it never be used to harm or bully someone. This rule goes along with facebook , if and when she gets a facebook account (or any other form of social media). As parents we need to pay attention to how our kids are using technology. We also might want to take a quiet moment and look in the mirror the next time we make a &(*!)(*& post. Our kids are watching……… Thanks