One of the best reports I’ve seen about any case. Highlights and comments as usual:
Note: Rebecca Sedwick was 12. Facebook is for 13 year olds and above. There are reasons for all this, you know. If you caught your 12 year old smoking, you would do something about it. Same goes for everything else. There will come a time when socia media is viewed in the same way as what we currently see as no-go areas for kids. Not soon enough, though.
‘But when you actually look into each story, the bullying started for these kids long before an Ask.fm account entered the picture.’
‘These stories, complete with hysterical calls for social media bans and sweeping legislative reforms, don’t exactly reflect what has been happening in Lakeland.’
“Don’t blame a tool, but try to make changes. Start with yourself. Be more polite, more kind, more tolerant of others. Cultivate these values in families, in schools.”
‘“But the common denominator? It was access to what?” he asks. “Facebook. It was access to social media. Once the mom and the school successfully separated her from the bullies, they still found access to her online.”
“Listen to me clearly, folks, we’re dealing with children who think like children,” Judd says.
Rebecca also didn’t feel like she was getting emotional support from her biological father, Ken Sedwick, who was living with a girlfriend and her children.
(I put the above in bold, as it supports my ‘dysfunctional family’ opinion. Kids don’t understand things. Why would a father leave to live with another family? Because he doesn’t like the one he has. Perhaps, in her mind, he left because of her. Emotional confusion.)
‘“After her trying to block them and making another Facebook and coming at it that way,” Tricia says, “she just got swamped with it. All at one time. And she’s not old enough to handle something like that. No 12-year-old is.”
(The answer is to make ‘another Facebook’? Another place where she’s not meant to be? To keep the ogre in the house? I get soooo perplexed by this. Isn’t it a bit like saying ‘My kid was off her head on vodka, so we gave her rum as the antidote’?)
(btw – call me old fashioned, but I still find it odd that parents these days talk of their kids being in ‘relationships’ and indulging in sexual activity – real or pretend – as if it was no big deal. But maybe that’s just me.)
‘Tricia had restricted Rebecca’s internet access on the home computer and didn’t have a 3G plan for her phone. She could, however, still use mobile apps like Facebook, Kik Messenger, and Ask.fm on the house Wi-Fi.’ errrmmm….I don’t quite get that, but never mind.
“If I had shut it off at a certain time and she couldn’t get on it, a lot of this would not have been able to happen,”
‘On the day that Guadalupe’s and Katelyn’s names were released, news sites writing about the arrests gave users more than enough information to quickly find Guadalupe’s still-active Twitter account, @Guadalupeborgen. Within an hour of Guadalupe and Katelyn being named chief bullies in Rebecca’s case, they were attacked online by people saying they should have been the ones to kill themselves.’
‘DeMichael laughs sadly and tells me that the very first thing she did when she took the case was change her name on Facebook. She didn’t want anyone to be able to find it and cyberbully her for defending a cyberbully.‘
‘“Bullying has become its own monster in our culture now because, like I said, these kids can’t escape it,” DeMichael says, shaking her head. “Of course they’re accused of bullying this girl here, but you got to think of the impact of, you know, they can’t even grasp the intensity of this.
‘There was also Brianna Earls, a girl at Rebecca’s school who created a fake Facebook page called “Brianna’s Next” full of hurtful comments that she planted there herself. She claimed that the girls who bullied Rebecca were after her next. She later had to explain to police and local press that the whole thing was a hoax.’
‘But for the rest of the world, the bullying monster that DeMichael alluded to in her office, the spectacle, the attention, will fade.’
Well – so much for giving this blog a conclusion. Maybe there never will be one. We can only hope.
Be happy, people. Take care of yourselves. And if you have any children – PULL YOUR FINGER OUT. Ta ta!