Meaner Younger: Access and Excess = Trouble

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…


6 thoughts on “Meaner Younger: Access and Excess = Trouble

  1. "Why is Facebook not monitoring these types of pages more closely?" – Because they're too busy collecting money out of foolish people who will stupidly pay for "gifts" and Farmville points and such. :-/ Sadly. I just looked up some of the "I hate" groups, too. I think they should be more closely monitored, as well. Some of the stuff is okay but hate groups against people or individuals just isn't. I'm so thankful I graduated high school when I did… I would hate to see what Facebook groups would come out of my class. Eeek. This stuff reminds me of when I go and just randomly read "the gossip" in the town on the Topix forums. It's terrible. They need to shut it down because it's ruining people there. It makes them look so bad. But then again… about the same reason I moved from there.

  2. Thanks Karen! I agree and am SO very thankful this kind of thing wasn't around during my high school days…but FOURTH GRADE??? It boggles the mind. My fourth grade days were filled with seesaws and tree climbing, tether ball and Fleetwood Mac records at recess – and I can clearly remember a girl named Nikki who all of the other kids in my class seemed to dislike in a big way – which, for some reason gave me the overwhelming urge to befriend her and try to protect her. I think I have always been drawn to the more interesting people in a crowd and not necessarily the conformists :)…I had friends in every group in high school, but never really felt like I belonged myself – kind of ironic, but true. If girls rule and boys drool – I think the girls need to remember that sticking together is a good thing. They can't all be friends, but the energy spent by some of these girls on tearing one another down is ridiculous.

  3. Good timing on this Jen,My daughter who is going into 4th grade JUST asked me for a FB page. I was shocked! My response, "Absolutely not"! Turns out several of her friends from class have one. Shocked again! With everything in the news about the troubles of FB, I just don't get how parents can let this happen. Sadly it's a world of lazy parents and instead of dealing with a disappointed child (and possible argument), some parents rather just say "yes".Here is my motto:Train up children in the way they should go. When they are old, they will not turn away from it. Proverbs 22:6

  4. Did your friend call the girl's mom? I think it's important to keep the parents informed, hopefully, the parents will SHUT IT DOWN (I'm channeling Gordon Ramsay there). If the parents' truly don't care, then I'd go to the school officials – to make sure it's on record and that they are keeping an eye on the girls involved. It's a horribly sad situation that truly breaks my heart.

  5. Good article, Jen! You know, I'm a woman up there in years and I still recall with a degree of sadness the often brutally teasing words of young classmates because, in grade school, I had to wear eyeglasses ("four-eyes") orthopedic shoes, and – to add to the angst – I was a little chubby. I know that many of us have suffered that kind of taunting because kids ARE often mean. But to be able to post hurtful – hateful – remarks for all the world to see and to be published for posterity is really too much. In a world that needs nothing more than love, why is it that folks are deriving their greatest pleasures by broadcasting messages of hate? Parents, step up to the plate and teach your children the right thing!!!

  6. Thank you for all of the great comments! Madison – yes, school officials are being contacted and they will take it from there (talking to the parents). Tracy! Yay!! I just can't think of even ONE valid reason for a 9 yr. old to have a FB page! Good for you! Anonymous – I feel your pain…I started wearing glasses in second grade myself — and then to my horror, I got boobs waaayyy before everyone else. At one point in 6th grade I believe I was just a mess – braces, glasses and crutches because of a knee injury and a really BAD hairdo (my stepmom used to love to cut my hair short and give me a perm) not a pretty site. The boys on the bus used to snap my bra (because I was the only one wearing one) very embarrassing… (big sigh) Totally agree – it's bad enough when you know people are snickering behind your back – but to see the words there as you said "for all the world to see" is absolutely more than any child should have to deal with. They are not equipped at that age to deal with it. Period.Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment…

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