Today, I have published a handful of pages to accompany this blog – helplines.
One of the things that struck me during the research into the Amanda Todd story was the absolute ignorance of people who got involved, or were involved.
Parents in general – don’t get me started. Lots of them seem to have no clue about what their teens do or how to tackle it. I struggle to remain calm here. I was a wayward child – I would leave the house as a little angel and by the time I was out of sight I was the local villain. It was only when the police called that any of it became known. But it was dealt with. So I know how easy it is to fool parents. And, regarding aspects of this story – I’ve been there, seen it, done it, on both sides of the equation.
But I am horrified by some attitudes. At one extreme (sometimes mine) I feel that the only way to protect kids is to lock them away from puberty onwards until they are about thirty – and maybe not even then! But more and more I’m seeing an attitude of ‘Meh! What can you do?’. Adults can’t be bothered!
To a certain extent, I can sympathise. Adults have problems too. We live in a stressful society. We can’t watch kids 24/7. But to simply shrug shoulders and say ‘What can you do?’ is shameful.
I have seen articles referencing the Amanda Todd case that seem to dismiss her activities as just another example of sexting – the story that the video likes to portray. ‘Hey, they all do it, so what can we do? It’s no big deal.’ But wait – there are kids DYING from this stuff. Getting fucked up. ‘What can we do?’
It sickens me. In just briefly setting up the helpline pages, I can see that there is a TON of information out there. People can no longer claim ignorance. It seems that these days everyone has access to the Internet – it’s just that most people use it to view fluffy kittens doing cute things. People no longer have to struggle alone in dealing with problems – there are hundreds of organisations out there offering help and guidance. And yet stupidity still prevails.
I was astonished by the reaction to the Amanda Todd video. Kids sexting was seen almost as an innocent pastime. And OK, maybe it isn’t such a big deal. It’s become part of the mainstream for kids – times change. But when the truth came out – the BlogTV escapades – most adults opted for the ‘close my eyes this isn’t really happening’ approach. They simply do not want to hear about it, let alone have to think about it.
And it was the same for other aspects. Under-age sex? ‘What can you do?’ Drugs? ‘Well, you can’t watch them all the time’. Drink? ‘Holey moley, who cares?’ Addicted to BlogTV, Facebook, YouTube? Well, you simply CAN’T take that away from them or supervise them, can you?
It’s just all too feeble. Parents, adults, carers, teachers – you have a RESPONSIBILITY. Instead, you are behaving like lazy fuckwits. The solutions don’t lie in stupid Facebook pages – liking an R.I.P. page achieves nothing, and supporting pages run by unprofessional lunatics creating their own anti-bullying or anti-suicide or pro-vigilante pages is ludicrous. And neither is the solution to be found by starting yet another foundation or fund – there are already many, much better ones out there like ChildLine, the Samaritans, the NSPCC – all of which have been around for years, and all of which need financial support and help. Believe me – the ‘Amanda Todd Legacy’ will not last. It will be forgotten very soon. How many people know of Marjorie Raymond? And yet almost as many said they would never forget.
The Amanda Todd story will fade. These stories always do. Sanctimonious idiots run around as if it’s never happened before, they get on the bandwagon. The world will change! It rarely does.
Kids will continue on BlogTV. They will continue to take drugs and drink. All the Amanda Todd stuff will blow over. Why? Because tackling the problem is too much of an effort. Supervising your child? Too much effort. Grounding them or punishing them? Too much of a pain in the ass. Getting educated and taking responsibility? Someone else’s problem. Facing the truth? The truth is too horrible, better to believe in a fairy story.
What can be done? Well, I can’t solve that one. Here’s a few suggestions, ranging from sensible to mad:
Get your kids off Facebook! It’s a cesspit! Or at least supervise them.
Fight for better education. Join in with local schools – suggest lessons on ‘The Perils of the Internet’ and the kids can’t leave school until they’ve passed! (The idea that anti-bullying has to be done by teachers and the Government is ridiculous. Any decent parent will tell their child that bullying is not good, surely?)
If you suspect your kid is in trouble GET EDUCATED or GET HELP. Even better, get educated first and try to PREVENT your kids getting in trouble.
Tell your kids you will always be there for them, by all means, but whatever happened to chastisement? If your kids experiment with things, fair enough. That’s part of growing up. But so is learning right from wrong. Kid gets drunk once – part of growing up. Does it again? Grounded with no privileges for a month. Set boundaries – not basically tell them they can do what they like! ‘But my baby won’t like me if I tell her off’ Tough.
I could go on forever. But I’ll finish with this:
If your kid sexts, or may do so, sit them down and explain things, give them a few warnings, don’t shout and scream. Treat them like mini-adults.
If your kid is naked all over the Internet, the police arrive, there is BIG trouble – don’t let it continue. Don’t allow your kid unfettered access to her webcam. Don’t let her continue with her dangerous activities.
Common sense, surely?