Meaner Younger: Access and Excess = Trouble

by J. J. Cannon

Got a call from a good friend over the weekend who was very upset after finding out that one of her daughter’s classmates, a fellow 4th grade girl, had created an “I hate so and so” page on Facebook.

My curiousity piqued, I thought I would search for myself to see what kind of “I Hate ______” pages I could find on Facebook. Facebook returned approximately 321,000 results. Turns out people hate everything from the President to Justin Bieber, Cheaters, Stupid Bitches, Duty, Sluts, Traffic, the Blackberry, some girl on Big Brother in another country, Cigarettes, Goodbyes and even (gasp) Facebook…I’m certain I could have located rainy days and Mondays if I tried!

The Facebook Statement of Rights clearly states:

#7 under Safety reads in part: You will not post content that: is hateful, threatening…

#5 under Registration and Account Security: You will not use Facebook if you are under 13.

Obviously anyone can go onto Facebook and lie about their age, etc…but the bigger question for me is where are the parents? I realize that I will not be saying anything here that most of us don’t already know – but I must point out that it makes me sad when I hear this kind of thing because there seems to be so much more power behind the meanness of girls today, due in large part to the advancements in technology.

It seems the “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” moniker has been basically obliterated with so much instant access to information. Oh, did I forget to mention that the girl they hate is also a member of the group so that she can go on and defend herself? What in the Sam Hill is going on people??

I am no psychologist, however, I do not believe that nine or ten year old children possess the intelligence or forethought to understand the damage they are doing, not only to others, but ultimately to themselves. How can they possibly understand the permanence of what they are putting out there…it never goes away. How will they feel about what they’ve done ten or twenty years from now?

Why is Facebook not monitoring these types of pages more closely?

It all comes back around to the same burning question: Where are the parents?

Would love to hear your feedback…