Problems, problems, problems

http://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/that-dead-girl-what-happens-to-a-family-and-a-town-after-a-c

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!

4 thoughts on “Problems, problems, problems

  1. As much as I see your point with the dysfunctional family theory, it seems like just another form of victim blaming. Instead of putting the focus on the families who experience these tragedies, maybe we should be focusing more on why the bullies are doing what they are doing in the first place. Like what they said in the article, it’s not the tools causing this, it’s that we aren’t teaching the kind of human decency that will extend online.

    • Interesting. Of course, you may have overlooked the fact that it is a possibility that Amanda Todd was, herself, a bully in real life – something that has cropped up in my investigations. Is it alleged that as part of her role as a cheerleader (a well-known and often maligned position in teenage hierarchies) she would pick on girls deemed to be unattractive, or not so ‘cool’, thus bringing a certain amount of backlash upon herself.
      What I have tried to state is that virtually every child receives a certain amount of bullying in their existence. Those who appear to cope and are more resilient in general tend to come from more functional families. If you want to prevent tragedies, this facet of it is very important.
      If you want to take a view which concentrates on the bullies being at the core of the problem, that’s fair enough. But in the Todd situation, we know that the bullying certainly wasn’t the main cause of the problems. Indeed, the very latest articles state that it is unwise to take this stance, as it is not that simple.
      And then we get into a gigantic problem of teaching human decency. So let me think – hey kids, don’t be bullies, but support the armed invasions of Iraq and kill a million people; let’s all sit around and be nice to each other while we send drones to Pakistan and the Yemen simply to kill people we don’t like; stuff your faces with turkey and pumpkin pie while the people who make your iPads and your clothes live in poverty.
      Oh – and by the way. Carol Todd – that wonderful messianic preacher of the anti-bullying brigade – actively encouraged the persecution of innocents and recommended revenge and retribution as the solution to all the problems. That’s human decency, isn’t it?
      Merry Christmas and bah humbug!

      • That wasn’t a particularly good answer.
        The Amanda Todd story is extraordinarily convoluted, thus trying to come up with any sort of solution is almost impossible.
        One of the reasons why ended up skewing my blog towards victim blaming was purely to provide another view, maybe to balance the vitriol that was coming from the Todd camp against not only innocent people, but children who themselves were being bullied and threatened for voicing opinions.
        But we have to look at every aspect of the saga. If you insure a house, the insurers will refuse to pay out for a burglary if they find that windows or doors to property have been left open. In the UK, we have anti-bike theft advice that basically states that if you don’t secure your bike, then you should expect it to get stolen.
        What amazed me about this story was that Amanda put herself in danger too many times. It wasn’t a case of one little mistake, it was a case of several very large mistakes. Even when warned off by the police, she continued. And her parents let her. The initial story encouraged people to believe that some pernicious predator strove to get at Amanda, which was untrue. Amanda virtually threw herself in the path of the oncoming train. In my opinion, Carol Todd was saying ‘It’s OK to let your kid play in the road. If they get run over, it’s the fault of the driver’, whereas I was trying to push the point of prevention starting at the low level of protection at home.
        This has been a big problem throughout the story – people saying that Amanda deserved it, when what they meant was that in many ways she simply manufactured her own downfall by repeatedly going against all advice. And if we believe that Amanda was perhaps mentally ill or confused, then that it the reason why I have such a profound anger against her parents – they should have stepped in and done a lot more to prevent this.
        As far as tackling the bully aspect of it, I believe that, to a certain extent, we need to keep things simple. Cyberbullying isn’t indicative of some catastrophic decline in society, it’s just a new way for kids to express themselves. Bullying is unfortunately a fact of life. We can see it at every level and in every age group, whether it be George Bush slaughtering the Iraqis or Obama sanctioning drone attacks, or idiots criticising people on twitter. Kids will always be horrible (for God’s sake, you must have seen the film ‘Mean Girls’) and if anyone comes at me with religious or moral nonsense, I have seen some of the greatest bullying and bigotry in church. It seems to be ingrained in humanity.
        Of course we should try to teach kids to be kind, but basically it ain’t gonna happen any time soon. Not when principles of hatred and aggression are passed down from generation to generation. Teaching children to be kind is OK (good luck to you) but we also need to teach children how to be more resilient and to take more care. Thus I come full circle – who is mainly responsible for kids upbringing? Parents. And it is here where I find so much idiocy.
        And I expect you will find that, if you tackle the bullies, you will find parents at the root of it. Simply look at the Sedwick case. And of course – who were the real criminals in the Megan Meier case? So. Parenting. End of.

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