The Pitfalls of Children & Social Media

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There is a point to the video above and a connection to the pitfalls of children and social media.  But before we can talk about it we need to take a moment to watch our good friend Enrico Palazzo perform too.

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Excuse me while I catch my breath, I can’t stop laughing at the first video. I know, it is not nice to laugh at others and it is probably not that funny, but damn, it just does it for me.

Every time I watch the officer from Chattanooga perform I ask myself how did he allow himself to be placed in that position. Surely (resisting Airplane reference here) he was aware that he didn’t know the lyrics to our National Anthem.

Yet he got up there and just belted it out, didn’t try to mask things by doing a Bob Dylan or Kurt Cobain impression, he just sang the song…badly.

And now thanks to the magical tool we call the Internet and it is eternal life giving powers he has been immortalized and probably not in the way he wanted to be.

Children and Social Media

My children have heard my lecture about not being allowed to post videos on the net a million times. They have heard me talk about being careful and cautious with what they post online and have been told they aren’t allowed to without parental supervision a million times too.

This hasn’t prevented it from happening a few times nor am I surprised by this.

Truth is I have very limited control.

They have friends with smartphones, iPads and all sorts of other devices that can be used to upload stuff to locations online and I can’t guarantee their parents will stop them. Hell, I can’t guarantee they could stop them even if they wanted to because lets face it kids can always find ways to do things without their parents knowing.

Ask my own parents and they’ll tell you about the stuff they never told me they knew about. Ask me and I’ll tell you stuff they still don’t know I did.

But what concerns me is a lack of life experience and its impact upon judgement combined with a zero tolerance policy at school and in society.

Marshall Weinbaum and Pocket Knives

Marshall Weinbaum got raked over the coals and excoriated online because of a picture he posted on his personal Facebook page. I don’t know Marshall but what happened to him is a good example of what can happen when people react to what we post.

Experience has taught me that many people don’t dig beyond the initial comment or layer of what they see or hear, they just react.

Jessica Gottlieb makes a good point when she says people only know what we publish or say and there is a lot of food for thought tied up in that post and those it links to.

On a personal level I think Marshall was treated unfairly but on a professional level I might have advised him to be cautious because we live in a zero tolerance society. When people are offended or upset they often respond by reacting and social media has made it possible for their reaction to be both amplified and magnified a thousand fold.

Want to know how this relates to pocket knives?

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) student handbook states that possession of a knife on school property is grounds for suspension or expulsion. During conversations with school administrators I have been told to tell my children not to bring knives to school because they will be expelled.

Now you may say the school wouldn’t do it and that the district is just protecting itself but I am not convinced that is so.

Bubble Wrap Our Children

Our inclination as parents is to do all we can to protect our kids. There is a desire to bubble wrap them so that they never get hurt which is probably why some mothers told me they support the rule to expel kids who bring knives because it is possible they might be used to hurt someone.

Of course some of these same moms are lucky they don’t kill parents and students during pick up/drop off at school, but they would never see the correlation between the two so we won’t talk about it.

What we will do instead is circle back and ask the question about what should we do to help our children avoid some of the pitfalls in social media. Can we do anything or do we just hope that somehow common sense will prevail.

I wonder sometimes, especially when I read about fights and sexual assaults that are filmed and shared all over.

It is not realistic or practical to wrap the kids in bubble wrap, nor can I keep them offline, but sometimes hoping that common sense prevails feels a bit hollow and empty.

What about you?

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