OK no you know what I really hate and yet I keep seeing on my dash right now? It’s when kids’ Vines or videos go viral for stupid reasons. Like a 10 year old boy singing a song really badly, or a 13 year old girl freaking out over a TV show in a totally embarrassing and over the top way. I hate seeing people reblog those things, those reminders of a kid’s mistakes, and laughing at them. It makes me really really angry because the more notes / views those videos get, the higher the chance of someone at that kid’s school seeing the video. The higher the chance of that kid becoming a laughing stock, no matter how fleeting the fascination with their perceived indiscretion.
I can relate on some level to it because I made a few YouTube videos when I was in school - nothing too embarrassing, just me talking to a webcam about my experiences with bullying (how ironic) but someone from my school found them and sent the link around to everyone, and truly, it was awful. I couldn’t go to school for a week, and that was just a video seen by 500 or so people. I honestly don’t think I could have coped if it had been more.
It’s bad enough having kids laugh at you for your hairstyle or your accent; something subjective, something where the fallout is localised. Something that happens when you’re at school, but you can switch off at home. It’s absolutely horrendous, but at least there’s a respite. But when it’s something that millions of other people have seen, something that millions of other people are laughing at and sharing with their friends so that they can laugh at it too - I can’t even imagine how awful that must be for a child. I really can’t. It would be inescapable, knowing that whether you were at school or at home, asleep or awake, there would be someone looking at your humiliation and finding humour in it. You wouldn’t be able to get away from the shame of it.
And kids make mistakes. That’s part of being a kid. Sometimes, with the Internet being as global and connected as it is, these kids make mistakes in public and leave a very obvious record of it. When this happens, it’s best to let that mistake lie, and not spread it around. Don’t multiply that mistake tenfold and throw that kid headfirst into a situation that they are not emotionally mature enough or equipped to deal with.
It should be simple: don’t post anything that’s going to be harmful in any way to another person. Just have a little empathy for the repercussions of sharing that post. Kids these days are exposed to so much ridicule. It’s bad enough when the ridicule is limited to your peers, but when it extends to people you haven’t even met, people who don’t know you but whose comments and laughter you can clearly see if you look for it - I can’t imagine something more difficult for a child or adolescent to deal with at such a fraught time in their development.
I really hope that this isn’t coming across as tone policing or anything like that, and I hope it’s not overstepping a metaphorical line or placing myself on a pedestal that doesn’t exist, but it really is something that I feel very strongly about indeed. Kids and teenagers these days have it hard enough already, with the expectations of their elders to live up to and the social standards of their peers to meet. For the love of Marilyn Manson’s forthcoming and highly anticipated ninth studio album, please don’t make it any harder for them.