“It’s just the internet” say thousands of insecure internet bullies that spend 23 of the 24 hours in a day saying nasty things on people’s pictures and statuses, dying for attention. It’s not just the internet, these are people’s lives–real people that feel when you say “kill yourself” or that the world would be a better place without them. When did that become okay? To call someone’s baby ugly, or tell them they should die for sharing their life with the world?
It does not matter who you like or dislike, there are certain things you do not say to people. Ever. You’re not being helpful, and you’re not being mature and–here’s the kicker–you’re not even being a hater, you’re just being hateful. And you should be ashamed. So many parents say their child would never bully someone online, they know better/they were bullied first. It’s always easier to blame someone else; its another parent’s mistake, someone else’s child. That’s one of the reasons children these days can’t take responsibility for their own actions their parents don’t make them. And the don’t do so themselves. I’ve said a million times that your children become who you are and it’s true. I can’t speak for anyone else, but ever since I’ve seen my son copying me, I have changed a lot about what I do when I think he’s not watching and that includes owning up to my shit. When I was younger and I used to try to tattle to my mom, before calling someone else’s parents or going off she would ask well what did you do?
Something I have noticed from coaching in high school is that children are way different when their parents are around and when they’re not. They have no respect for anyone–not themselves, or their parents or teachers/principals/coaches or anyone else that I’ve seen. And respect is taught at home. By saying nothing and doing nothing in the home, we are teaching kids that they can do whatever the hell they want because “my mom has my back”. I can’t do that and I can’t be friends with or allow my child to associate with anyone that thinks that way. It’s not about being the cool parent, it’s about teaching your child that people other than them matter. I want my son to know that you can love yourself and be proud of yourself without tearing other people down to achieve that feeling. You’re not the only person in the world and not everyone is going to do what you want/like and you really just need to get over it.
There is something about being online that gives people the “power” to say things they wouldn’t say to someone else’s face. Something that makes them feel more anonymous even using their own name, and that’s why it’s hard to stick with that whole if you can’t say something nice thing. So instead of taking that risk, no matter what the “cool” social media sites are in 15 years when my boy is in high school, he will not be on them. Why, you ask? In 2014, more importance is placed on being popular than being smart. It’s okay not to get good grades as long as you get over 100 likes on instagram (at least that’s how it is in my town). No. Not my child. I’m not even worried that my kid will be a dick to other kids online (though it could actually happen), its the other children I worry about. The ones that may make my son feel like he’s not good enough or smart enough or black enough. The ones that tell other people to kill themselves like the lives of others mean nothing. The ones that constantly put others down to feel big and get laughs from other small minded people that have nothing to do but peruse the internet for people to bring into the same state of misery they’re in.
There is a different set of rules in the internet world, and I don’t want my child exposed to that until he can form his own opinion of himself and be strong in it–that age is not 13-16. Actually, I’ve seen adults be worse online than children (note that I will kick your ass if you ever speak of my child in the wrong way). People are ruthless enough in the real world now, I don’t need him in another world where people have no regard for human life. In this day and age you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t and I’d rather be damned if I don’t.
I see social media as a world with essentially no rules as long as no one actually dies. After all, it’s just the internet, you know.
If you haven’t ever done it, get on a celebrity’s insagram or twitter and see some of the things people say in the comments–I’m sure your mind will change as well.