Teenagers and Social Networking
I am really appalled at some things I have witnessed on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube (just to mention a few). I have seen vulgarity at its worse and threats of bodily harm. This is predominantly done by teenagers and is becoming epidemic. What has our society and the internet come to?
When I opened my You Tube account 4 years ago, there were moderators who prohibited the use of vulgarity and other inappropriate behavior. Now, either there are too many user verses moderators or this site doesn't care anymore. All I know, it seems whenever I go online, I will find some crude comment on someone's video. Sure enough, I'll check the profile of the individual who made the comment, and it's a thirteen or fourteen year old. These kids are too young to have these type of accounts.
My daughter, age ten, and I can't seem to view You Tube on many days, without finding some vulgar comment made by some disrespectful teen. I allow my child to view You Tube since there are many fun videos for her to watch. I have an account that she views, saves favourites, etc. I hate to see the comments made that my child witnesses. I can moderate what my child watches, or at least I thought I could.
Any kid with a camera, computer, email, and made up birth date can open an account or several accounts. I have reported such behavior, sent messages to these kids, and I only get a f*** o** reply back. We only want to enjoy You Tube videos but it's getting harder to find videos without crude remarks and/or appropriate videos that aren't what they claim to be. This is unfair to my child, other innocent children, and adults who become subject to this behavior while only trying to enjoy the site.
What can we do as parents to moderate/report this behavior without taking these privileges away from our well behaved children? I have taught my child the dangers of the internet and proper internet etiquette. She loves watching dog and other animal videos. In fact, there was a time we watched a Curious George video where it ended with George's head being blown up and a blood bath was displayed. This was upsetting. I've witnessed someone giving alcohol to a hamster and laugh while the poor thing got drunk. These are only a couple of many disgusting things I've seen. Most of this stuff posted by teens. There are also the comments on certain videos that range from extreme vulgarity to threats of bodily harm to the video poster. I don't like my child or myself seeing this stuff. It seems the only way to avoid it is to not watch the website. That, if feel, is not fair to the general public.
Facebook is another site where kids as young as eight have accounts. My child has a classmate who is ten and is getting messages from older men because her facebook settings aren't secure. This child and many others go from application to application with total disregard of the dangers. Some use the site to bully their peers. I have personally witnessed that. Where are the parents when their eight year old in online in facebook?
My child has an account which I created so she can communicate with her older cousins who live over 200 kilometers away. She has added her own friends, but only friends she has known for a while. Her friends' parents are in my facebook. This allows us to moderate each others' kids and communicate with each other. Yes, I created my child's facebook and if there is ever inappropriate behavior, I will take it away. At the worst, I would password protect the entire computer, if need be.
Last night, after hearing of the Twitter threats made by Justin Bieber fans against Selena Gomez, I decided to do some research. I went through various news articles and found user names of some of these kids who made these threats. Believe it or not, they still have their Twitter accounts. To make things worse, I wrote to a couple of them, via Twitter, to only be told to f** off. They think the whole thing is a joke, even the fact that their tweet was on the news. While investigating further into some of their tweets, I discovered links for video chats to talk about sex. There were also very sexually explicit tweets made by these youngsters. Some of these kids have over five hundred followers and are posting to "go to video chat" with a link posted. Mind you, I only checked about six of these kids' accounts and am thoroughly disgusted. There was one girl for whom I did a Google search which lead to more information about her. Obviously, these kids either don't care or are ignorant to their name being all over the world wide web.
In writing this, I am well aware that there are many very good teenagers out there. I do not want to make it sound like they all do this. I am only noticing that most crude comments, vulgarity, threats, etc are made by this age group. This also makes it unfair to the responsible kids for stereotyping. I apologize to anyone who takes offense to what I wrote because I know there are good teens out there. I am only writing of my experiences. I also want You Tube, Facebook and Twitter to know that I understand the high volume of users and how hard it is to moderate. That is one reason I am sharing my experience with others.
I am only one person, although it takes only one person to make a change, I am overwhelmed. Reporting this behavior does nothing. Posting to these kids does nothing. Basically, there seems to be nothing we can do to clean up this garbage online. Any comments or advice would be appreciated. Anyone who wants to share ideas, stories, etc would be great. Please, no nasty or vulgar comments.
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