Last night I experienced something I hadn’t experienced before. Initially, it made me laugh, but then I thought about it and the funny side soon wore off. You see I was doing an Instagram Live (not something I do a lot) while I was shaving my head (I know – I’m just crazy) and someone popped up with a comment that started all this. I believe they call these types keyboard warriors.
The comment that came up was “your retarded”. The person that said literally joined the live, dropped this and left – before I had even a chance to bring them down. You see look at the state of that grammar! For crying out loud is you’re not your. Bloody kids today know nothing – what are they teaching them at school?
Keyboard Warriors of an Internet Age
Actually, aside from the poor use of our language, the insult is pretty crap. I could just ignore it and move on but there is something deeper in this than a throwaway insult. If this person had called me a dickhead or something equally as insulting I would have been more accepting, but the word retarded insults not only me but people everywhere with learning difficulties or brain injuries.
At almost 38 I am not a child of the internet age. I grew up in a time when you had to talk to people in the real world and stand by the words you used. In my youth, I said some pretty stupid things to people a lot bigger than me and boy did I know about it. I also learned respect and to stand by the words that you use.
The generation of kids today who are growing up in an on-line world don’t know how to communicate with people. They don’t know how to talk and they certainly don’t know how to behave sometimes. But on-line, behind the apparent safety of their computer screen (or phone/tablet screens) they bash out insults on their keyboards being strong and untouchable. But are they?
What about the parents?
Not too long ago a kid who lives near us sent me an disgusting message on social media. You know you have to accept someone messaging you so I took a screenshot and declined it. But then I used the power of social media to track down this persons mother, then I got hold of her phone number, and then I phoned her. Yes kids I actually phoned someone and spoke to them using real words that came out of my mouth. I explained who I was, where I lived and what her child had sent me. She was shocked and appalled and I did hear on the grapevine that the kid in question got a good speaking to at home.
As parents, it’s our duty to educate our children in social responsibility, and by social I aren’t just referring to social media. We have to get them ready for the real world that exists beyond the computer screens and virtual world they seem to prefer to exist within. We have to get them talking to people face-to-face and with confidence. This is OUR responsibility to the world.
Online bullying has horrific consequences at times. It can damage people in ways you cannot imagine and bring a lifetime of distress to them and their families.
Talk to your children and encourage them to engage with people face-to-face and out in the world. But also talk to them about their on-line existence and how being a keyboard warrior is not going to do them any favours in their future. A future than undoubtedly will be more connected via the virtual world than we can imagine but one that will still rely on real people.
Thanks for reading.