April 26, 2011

A Stance

Not too long ago, a parent's biggest worry about their children being online was being approached by a pedophile.  Everyone has seen Dateline's: To Catch a Predator, right?   Now, there's another worry.  Cyber-bullying.  There are countless stories on TV of kids being harassed on their Facebook pages.  Sad stories of young people taking their lives over the bullying.  Sometimes, I think the social networking is the worst thing to happen to young people.  Sadly, like many things, there's always someone that turns a good thing into a bad thing. 

I'm so happy that Hayley is still too young to have a Facebook page. But when that time does come, there will be rules.  I will have access.  I WILL NOT raise a bully.  I work hard to raise my children to respect others and to always be kind.  No matter what.  I still remember the sting of other mean kids' words and I'd rather not have my children on the receiving end of such things.  Or dishing it out.  It's a hard line to walk, I don't want to raise pushovers either.  I just want my children to know that it's better to not be a part of the cruelty, it's better to simply tell someone that they're doing wrong and leave it at that.  I tell Hayley to be nice to everyone, even if they're not her favorite person.  And for six, she knows what's right.      

Recently, here in Washington, there was such a case of cyber-bullying.  (Read here)  Basically, a young girl's so-called-friends accessed her Facebook account and posted tons of inappropriate material.  These girls solicited sex and shared the girls personal information.  When it didn't stop, the parents called the police.  The girls involved are only 11 and 12.  And now, these girls are being charged with felony computer trespassing and cycberstalking, a gross misdemeanor.  They could face anywhere to 30 days to 5 years in a juvenile detention center.

These accused girls may be young, but honestly, I have no tolerance for bullying.  What those girls did was cruel and dangerous.  It was done with malice and intent.  It's wasn't funny.  They caused the victim and her family a great deal of harm.  I also wonder, where were these girls' parents???  These girls are 11 and 12 and should have been supervised.

I posted the same link to my Facebook page earlier and here are some of the responses I received:         
  • It seems children are raised in a much too permissive society - allowed to watch TV & movies that are not age appropriate, allowed way too much sugar & fast food, given foods that have been treated with hormones/additives. Dressed in clothing that's inappropriate for their age. Involved in activities that once was only for high school age kids. Lack of parental involvment in their daily lives & lack of control with the use of electronics etc. These young girls are way beyond their age - where were/are the parents? Where is common sense? And then we wonder what to do when kids act in a manner these girls have acted.
  • I don't think 11 and 12 year olds are too young for Facebook as long as a parent knows what is going on. Kids are super smart and totally technology driven now days. We can't compare them to kids from the past. The world is completely different. I think its all about parent involvement and knowing your children and treating them according to their own individual personalities. My 11 year old has an account set up through my email so that I see everything. She asks before she accepts any friends or likes anything....  She knows what we believe to be right and wrong and when these things are appropriate. We also talk constantly about " mean girls" and I am always making sure she know where those lines are and how not to cross them and what to do if her friends cross those lines.... Anyway, I agree these girls need punishment and their parents too.
  • Kids are so cruel. It's only 30 days in juivie I think those girls could learn a valuable lesson by being convicted.
Some kids, are cruel.  There are so many times that these things are simply overlooked and not taken seriously.  The first comment makes a great point, there's a huge lack of parental involvement.  However, raising kids today is totally different from raising kids ten, twenty years ago.  Kids are bombarded with so many things.  But really, it all goes back to the parents.  Where are they?   

I applaud the prosecutors for charging these girls.  I can not fathom the accused not realizing that what they did was horrible, wrong, and dangerous.  Some cry that the accused are too young, but apparently they were not too young to carry out the actions they did.  I don't care how much the accused disliked their old friend; no one deserves what they did to her.  If these bullies are never punished and their actions are not taken seriously; how can we ever expect things to change?       

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