Friday, August 23, 2013

The internet, naked pictures and teenagers

I’m a grandparent. I have to say I’m glad I’ve got parenting behind me, and feel fortunate I raised my kids during a time when there was no social media. Recently in the news there has been talk of another social media site, On the site, I guess, individuals can anonymously ask question, like, “Do you think my butt is big?” It’s apparently very popular with teenagers, because of that anonymity. Yet, when they get a cruel answer, which is more likely than not, they take it to heart.
Like Facebook and Twitter, this is a social site for ‘supposed’ discussion. What has come to light about this is it’s more of an open door to bully. In this day and age, bullying seems to be all the rage, as cowards use the internet to attack. They have the computer as their wall of defense and use it to all its damaging potential as a sheild. In my day, if you had something mean to say to someone either it was utter alone in the mirror of the bathroom with the door closed, or to that persons face. The bathroom was the most likely choice, considering you’d probably walk away with a blackened eye. Bullying happened when I was a kid, but it was usually very short term and rarely went further than the school yard. A good tussle, fist fly, parents are called, suspension occurs and it was a done deal. After all if you ‘TP’d’ or spray painted a house you’d get caught. Kids weren’t afraid to tattle, and parents weren’t afraid to parent. As a kid growing up as a baby boomer, if the school called the parents, it was your fault even if it wasn’t, the kid got blamed. Regardless adults were always right, ALWAYS., has come to the forefront, because of the bullying that resulted in teen suicides reported in the UK. I asked my seventeen year old granddaughter what she thought of this site. Her response was a relief to me, she didn’t go to it. She thought it was stupid people would put themselves out there, to expose their weaknesses and take the bullying so seriously. After all wasn’t it anonymous? She expressed she was too busy trying to get through geometry, and didn’t have the time or energy to put into something so stupid. I wiped my brow in relief.   
Another complaint my granddaughter had, was girls putting pictures of themselves clad in only their underwear on Instagram. I reminded my granddaughter, that once it goes on line, or on their boyfriend’s phone, they no longer have control as to where it goes from there. And where it could go, was the internet to stay FOREVER. Teen love rarely lasts, and when it’s over, like all broken love, it can get nasty. The person once loved and trusted is exposing everything. Those pictures now belong to that person, and they can do whatever they want with them. Perspective and future employers might see it, and there goes all that money spent for college, blood, sweat and tears into a degree, flushed right down the toilet, because of a nude picture to someone once loved. Believe me it happens, not to mention how humiliating it can be. For a young person, lacking the maturity to handle the hurt, it can be just too much to deal with.  
Social media is a worry for any family with children. It’s only getting worse as our technology improves. I’m always appalled at the depth of cruelty that these kids have and have no problem about exposing it to the world. I don’t wonder anymore where it comes from, where they’ve learned it. Recently, a letter was posted on-line that was received by a woman with an autistic child. The letter typed out on a piece of paper came from a ‘neighbor’ complaining about the woman’s son. The neighbor suggested the child be euthanized. She signed it, ‘a pissed off mother’. I no longer wondered how kids were being educated in their homes on the subject of compassion and tolerance. If that woman expressed this in writing, I’m sure her children heard her complaints in person. What a lesson in humanity.

1 comment:

  1. Had not heard of but it sounds terrible. That letter to the mother of a child with autism broke my heart. Every child is precious. You don't know which one will cure cancer or end world hunger. The internet is a scary place and I'm 50 years old.