It’s Not About the Internet

There’s been a lot of talk about the student who took his life after having a romantic encounter broadcast over the internet by his so-called friends.

In all the uproar, people seem to be missing the point.

Obviously, what happened to this student was a severe case. But this level of bullying happens all the time. We’re hearing about it this time because of the internet. Things like this, and much worse, are suffered by kids all over.

These students were not stupid. They were sophisticated enough to know what they were doing, and that it would upset their classmate. They posted the most private moments of this young man’s life online, holding him up to ridicule.  This was a shy, sensitive boy, and they knew that.

He wouldn’t have been a target if he were the school stud. And you can bet that he wouldn’t have been a target if he wasn’t gay. The whole intent was to degrade and humiliate him.

Someone’s going to have to figure out if it’s a hate crime. Did they think this boy would kill himself? Maybe not. But I doubt they really cared.

No one talks about bullying. People look at it as a rite of passage, that you should toughen up and get over.

That’s not right.

As a society we have to remember that children – anyone’s kids- are led by example. What does it say about us as a society when it’s okay to beat people, taunt them, or do things to humiliate others because they aren’t like you?  I think as adults we need to take a serious look at what values – or lack of them – are being passed down.

That’s not to say that everyone’s children are bad. We could say that this pair at Rutgers are just spoiled brats, but it is likely that there are a lot of people that think like these two. And not just young people, but adults as well. People who have lived long enough to supposedly know better.

What happened to showing a little empathy?  And why do some people think it’s fun to enjoy someone else’s pain?

The problem isn’t that they were able to post the video on the internet. The problem is they did it, knowing that they could potentially ruin someone’s life. A friend’s life. And they didn’t care.

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One thought on “It’s Not About the Internet

  1. Thanks, Lori, for helping people open their eyes to what should be obvious. I’ve seen numerous stories recently about this brand of violence, but I don’t believe that we have an unusual rash of such events. We just have more headlines than usual. Maybe that’s a good thing, because people are seeing what they might otherwise avoid. Another thought: it’s true that bullies and their ilk, besides looking for those who are less powerful or less violent in using their power, often target people who they percieve as not like them. But the old saw applies: people hate what they most fear inside themselves.

    Thanks again for a thoughtful post.

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