Tuesday, July 8, 2014

When do things people say become really hurtful or can be just a harmless comment   not really meant to hurt anyone?  Comics   say harmful things all the time but somehow we are able to laugh it off.  Entertainers perform publicized Roasts where famous people are mean to each other in a fun way.  Your closest friends and family make fun of you sometimes.  They will soon after say it was said because they love you.  Meanwhile, for example, they don’t want you anywhere near   them wearing that ugly sweater.

Well, ugly comments has filtered over into the app world   and who knows apps  better then young kids who are also experts at being mean to each other? It   just means that school bullies are now armed   with new weapons.  Kids take their phones everywhere with them.  They value a celebrity   selfie more than an autograph.  They are also very sensitive about what is mentioned about them on line.  So maybe things really haven’t changed that much just the medium that we use has changed.

Apps are   the newest thing in a lawless Internet where bullies can inflict enormous pain and ruin reputations.  This entire culture dominated by social media where anonymous people can like any type of behavior on line is a dangerous thing that I never grew up with.   Everyone wants to be liked and approved by their peers but when being drunk or stoned is a liked behavior over someone who posts a kind deed, then   society is broken.  No wonder we have lonely sick kids shooting up schools.

The Bullies have an edge and we need to know what can be
 done to fight them.  Vicious cruel postings like, “  You are gross, and You are so pathetic” that you look to  your phone and say to yourself, “ What did I do?” no one wants to be gross or pathetic meanwhile the anonymous poster is just laughing  not even realizing how much emotional damage they are inflicting upon others. Bullies are real tough especially when they could hide behind not being exposed.

“I’m going to throw a rock at your head when you are cheer leading, you suck at it anyway.” Should we be worried about violence too?  How do you defend yourself when something like that has been posted on the app Ask,fm?  A kid’s grades could go down because she cannot concentrate on her studies.  She worries if she really is going to get that rock thrown at her head.  Her best friend who she is walking with could have posted that for all   she knows.  Petty high school gossip is nothing new but this   playing field is very new.

Cyber bullying has been featured in movies like Mean Girls and Gossip Girl.  There are other apps like Yic YaK that a student, Will Haskell   wrote about and had his article published in New York Magazine.  Teachers and students downloaded the app and now his school, Staples High School in Connecticut is on an electronic lock down.  Who ever heard of such a thing?  Responding to complaints, the creators of Yic    Yak has set up geo-fencing that is   using GPS coordinates to prevent the app being used on school grounds protecting   almost 85% of middle schools and high schools.  This has never been done before.

Brooks Buffington, the Co-Founder of Yic Yak claims that his site is for 17 year olds and up.  He looks like he is 14 years old.  He is proud that his company has taken a proactive approach to limiting an age group.  He said that most parents are blocked out from their children’s phones so that is why he is acting as a parent. Meanwhile the site is only blocked in the vicinity of schools. Kids can have access anywhere else.

 Paula Todd wrote the book Extreme Mean and said apps like these are creating the most toxic environment we have ever seen.  These days it is easier than ever to hide behind technology.  You just don’t know who is doing what on the Internet.  Jimmy Kimmel has even done a spoof Called Celebrities Read Mean Tweets.  It is all a dangerous environment for impressionable teens.  We can even go as far as saying that the Internet makes people behave like psychopaths.  Living in the mindset of a psychopath means not caring about others, not seeing each other, getting your laughs at the expense of someone else, and really hurting someone.

 As for the cheerleader worrying about getting a rock thrown at her head, notifying the police   means that there is nothing that they can do   because Ask.fm is based in the foreign country called Latvia.  Even if you had the power to take down these apps, new and different ones would just crop up immediately and the owners have no idea how much harm they are causing.  I say convince your kids not to download any of these crappy apps.  What you don’t know won’t bother you.

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