This week, after getting mad and running out of ideas on how to get my kids to clean up after themselves, I did something despicable.
I took a picture of a plate and a cup that my son had left on his work desk in my office and sent it to him via a facebook private message. I then got him and his 13 year old brother in the room and threatened: “The next time you guys leave your s*** lying around, I will snap a picture and I won’t send it to you privately! I will post this stuff on Facebook, I will tag you in it and all your friends will know what slobs you are!”
Was it wrong? It certainly was a desperate attempt from a desperate mother to shame her kids into doing the right thing. They laughed it off. They know the chances of me doing such a thing are slim to none.
A while back, there was this youtube video of a father who used a gun to destroy his daughter’s laptop after she posted a very disrespectful rant on facebook about how bad she had it with her parents. His actions were criticized by Dr. Phil on National TV. Dr. Phil apparently thinks that a child should never, ever be embarrassed in public. Do you agree? Or do you think the father simply had guts and only returned the shame his daughter , who was 15 by the way, tried to inflict to him? At 15, are you still considered a child? Are you not well aware of your wrongdoings and therefore, shouldn’t be surprised if you get an equal reaction to any of your actions, even from your parents?
This got me thinking that this is a slippery slope.
As with everything, there are people out there who do use technology to get others to do what they want for the wrong reasons and practice cyber blackmail and cyber bullying. Would the actions of this father be considered cyber bullying?
Bullying is a serious problem in our schools. Cyber bullying is a problem that follows us in our homes. With the wide access to cell phones with cameras, kids today have no problem posting embarrassing texts or pictures to shame their peers.
Going through my 13 year old’s facebook messages–yes, I have his password and check his stuff every now and then and you should too–I just couldn’t believe the stuff that comes out of young people’s mouths nowadays. My son is not allowed to miss-behave and use derrogatory, sexist or racist terms online. If he does, he knows that will be the end of his social media life. I’m sure he gets away with some stuff, it’s hard to monitor every single social media account they have, but I sure as hell try!
On February 25, it will be Pink Shirt Day. The Seeker would like to encourage everyone to take a stand against bullying and wear something pink to show that we are all working together to prevent bullying in our schools, in our communities and online. And if you are a parent, I urge you to pay close attention to the virtual world your child lives in. It will likely partly shape who they become.
Unless and until our society recognizes cyber bullying for what it is, the suffering of thousands of silent victims will continue. -Anna Maria Chavez