“That’s That Gay Kid” Did Your Kid Post This?
Social media, like Facebook can be a great thing. There is no doubt it can keep people in touch with friends that they may normally lose track of through the years. It is a great way to share pictures and get comments from your friends. And it can be a great way to keep everybody up on what it going on in your world. I mean, when i see the post “Work, gym, home.” I think ,”Oh good, I was worried about her getting up for work today, I’m glad she’s not homeless, oh and how nice she is staying in shape.” And I feel better, I no longer have to worry so much about that friend. She has all her ducks in a row as they say.
There is an ugly downside however to the “Facebook”. Cyber-Bullying, I will tell you I have seen this first hand, far too many times on my son’s Facebook page. It is amazing what middle school kids will say to each other. And when you say it on a Facebook page, you basically yelled it out in the lunchroom for the whole school to hear.
I guess I should amend what I just said. It doesn’t as much amaze me what other kids say to each other because if it were just the two of them, I don’t think it would have been said at all. One on one, kids seem to have more respect for each other than that. It’s only in the group setting that they feel they need to announce their hatred for another human being. Because one thing you don’t want is, other people thinking you may think the “fat girl” or the “gay boy” is deserving of human respect and dignity. And the problem is that they are right. They are dead on correct in the assumption that if they are too nice to, or Lord forbid defend the loser kid, they will be put along side the outcast by the “cool kids” and teased themselves. It is not cool to call out the bullies. Until more kids, especially the “cool” kids, do it. The nice thing is I saw it happen today.
This morning when I was perusing the Facebook I noticed a picture my son had posted had a few comments. The picture in question was of my son and another boy and the first “comment”, was about the other boy in the photo. It said, ” Oh that’s that gay kid, (the kid’s name).” And as if to say, I know writing this was bad the commenter added, “That was (insert name here) saying that, not me.” Oh well, that gets you off the hook for writing it. All of this sadly, isn’t that unusual and honestly, not nearly as bad as it gets. In fact, it’s kind of tame in comparison to what the girls say to, and about their classmates. What is unusual and what gives me hope for the world is the next kid to comment on the photo.
He said, ” wow u guys r cool cuz u called someone gay”. Maybe it isn’t much, but I thought it was a great start. And something I would love to see a lot more of. I don’t know the kid who made the second comment , but from a quick look at his page he seems to be one of the “cool” kids. He could have easily just let the mean comment go. After all, it wasn’t him they were mocking. And as far as I’m aware, he doesn’t even really know the kid involved. But he didn’t let it go , he called the bullies out for their comment. That is what the world needs.More kid’s and adults like him.
It’s not just enough to teach your kids not to bully, I think we also have to teach them to not sit back and do nothing when they see it happening. As hard as it can be to speak up if we don’t, we are silently saying it’s alright to do it. I’m reminded of the famous lines from Pastor Martin Niemoller in regard to Hitler’s Germany:
“In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me —
and by that time no one was left to speak up.”