Who are you raising? Who is watching how you behave and act towards others? Who is listening to how you speak, and what verbal slurs are said on those late night girl chats?
The answer for most people....The next generation and previous generations before. Whether you are a Mam, Auntie, cousin, sister, visiting a home with a child present, or out for lunch with your ladies....there is generally a child within earshot of your conversation. While we all accept that everyone is entitled to their opinions and to have adult conversation, lets just have a little think about it.
I have a 5-year-old who is as “diva” as they come. Fabulously diva, love everything about her sass and genuinely without being biased, she is very well behaved (for the most part). She is full to the brim with confidence, and with confidence comes the attitude and the feeling that she knows it all. We know she does not. She is quick with her back chat and even quicker with a temper tantrum! So as her Mam, I act daily to keep her in line. No this doesn’t mean I beat her or have her scared to speak or be herself, but it does mean she realises there is a limit… an imaginary line that she shouldn’t cross.
Why do I do this? Because I am her Mam, not her mate. I say this to her frequently too. Of course, I want her to feel like she can approach me in difficult times (in fairness this is how my Mam was and we have always had an extremely open and amazing relationship), but she has enough friends - strong parental figures are different. You see even without you noticing, your child or the children around you will pick up your mannerisms, your sayings… harmless as they may seem. What is said by adults in conversation generally shouldn’t be said by a child, and as much as you and I know I wouldn’t say abusive comments to a person because it is wrong, children don’t…
It is the age old saying of “monkey see, monkey do”.
So why do we now have a surge in videos showing bullying, WhatsApp groups set up where it is seen by people as normal to verbally abuse others and badger suicide, comments on photos pointing out the flaws in a person. Some people will blame social media. “It’s all social medias fault… gave them the tools to do it… gives them the freedom to express themselves”… Well hold on to your knickers because I call BULLSH*T!!
Yes social media is there, yes it’s a wider platform to “express opinions”, but who taught these people it was ever okay to speak to another person like that, or to physically harm another person and record it for pleasure… better yet… who allowed their child to think that is was okay?!
These people, both adolescents and adults, didn’t just wake up one morning with the urge to become an Internet Troll… pet peeve of mine if I’m honest! Keyboard gangsters hiding behind a computer screen, projecting negativity that they call “an opinion” on the world, using social media without any thought of how it may influence the children reading it or the people involved in the article/post/picture they are commenting on. They slowly progressed to this.
No I don’t have a teenager, so for all the “you haven’t been there” comments coming next, I have. I was once a teenager, I’m not that old! I had social media access and peer pressure. Guess what? I still knew right from wrong. I was in no way a saint, but I never trolled to hurt someone intentionally. Do you know why?... Because my family raised me not to. They raised me with that same imaginary line so when I was old enough to “express myself” I knew that trolling or abuse was not the way to go.
Putting someone else down wont build you up. Damaging someone else’s self-esteem wont boost yours. Calling someone fat won’t make you thin...and worst of all badgering someone about committing suicide rather than holding out a hand to help is the lowest scum of the earth and that is exactly what your parents should have told you!
My point overall of this is basically a mini rant; a snippet into my thoughts after yet another week of dipping into comments to read people's responses on the most random of posts. I am disgusted by trolls and fearful of them in relation to when my daughter grows up.
Families across the world have forgotten their roles because they’re too busy trying to be “cool mates” to their children, rather than their parental figures. I see it daily, and I will never understand it. Their phones are too close to their own faces to see what their child is doing in front of them on theirs. Suddenly a verbal slur, as negative as can be, is seen as okay because it is an “opinion”.
Child depression and suicide death rates are at an all-time high. This image is from 2015, http://www.nsrf.ie/statistics/suicide/ and in my opinion it’s a sad day for humanity when 10-14 year olds not only think suicide is their only option, but may have been driven to it.
The youth of today have more confidence in a hand-held device then speaking to each other, or a parental figure face to face and we ask why?…
We can blame social media but who is really to blame?
Rach @ CC xx
An opinionated woman and Mam…