The Duck Syndrome
Are you a parent or have a job that has you around kids?
The first thing I want to say is don't ever underestimate the impact you can have on a child. Of course, we think of the negative things that can happen with bad intentions and some adults shouldn't be around kids. For the most part, if you are a parent, your child is going to be influenced by other adults all the time.
If you work with kids, volunteer, or are just around the kids of friends, don't discount the positive influence you can have. Being a single mom, I have depended on others to help me and be there for my kids.
As adults, I think it is important to help each other and share information when possible. I saw something on the news this morning that compelled me to share. Some of you may have seen it, but it is horrifying to me the effect of cyber bullying. Kids have been mean for years, they just had to do it face to face. Technology has made it so much easier to be mean and parents may not be fully aware. It scares me because families are so busy. Families used to eat together and have at least some time during the day or evening to talk to each other. Today, everyone is going somewhere or involved in some activity. It's hard to check in with each other.
As a parent and someone who just loves others I wanted to share two trends with young people that are sad and terrifying.
Kids who are 11-12 committing suicide because of bullying is the saddest thing to me. Accidents happen, but deliberately taking their life is just unthinkable. Parents of the bullies are responsible in my eyes. I have a teaching certificate and only taught for a year and stayed home with my kids the rest of the time, but schools have to intervene. I know they don't want to, but it isn't schoolyard fights anymore. This is serious stuff and some of the crazy things teachers have to do because of "red tape" and policy should be removed so they can take care of more pressing issues.
Kids spend more time in school than with their parents most days so there has to be more involvement. More pay for teachers would be great also since they are wearing several hats and have a big influence on kids.
The other thing that scares me is the illusion that life is perfect on social media. I see so many teens and young adults trying to live up to these crazy expectations. Nobody has perfect hair, make up and clothes all the time. It is such an artificial world and emphasis is being placed on the wrong things. I heard it being called the "Duck Syndrome." It refers to how ducks look like they are effortlessly gliding over the water while their feet are frantically moving below the water, where you can't see.
Here is the link to the story: Social Media Pressure
I live in still a relatively small town. It has grown and so have our schools. I graduated with 85 in my class in 1989, my kids graduated with over 250 in their class. A lot of the teachers in the school are from here, many I went to high school with, and I know a lot of parents.
Some of the surrounding county schools have crazy amounts of students. I had my kids in a private Christian school for a while and with the divorce and economy I was going to have to make a change and I put them back in my city's schools. I struggled with the decision and my mom told me that the benefit is that we know so many people. She said if my kids get in trouble, people who care will tell me, those who just want to talk will get out and talk about it so either way I will find out! It's not like that in a lot of places.
Oh, and my daughter was bullied at the Christian school by girls and it was really small, but drugs were found in a locker. My illusion of a safe environment because it was private and Christian was shattered. There are bad things and bad people everywhere.
That brings me to the only solution I can find for this problem and every other problem in the world.....
We have to bring God back into the classroom and everywhere else. I rely on my faith for everything and I don't know how I would function without it.
Have you had any experiences or thoughts about cyber bullying or the effects of social media?