Thursday, January 11, 2007

Innovations in Adolescent Assholery

I met some nice people in blogoland yesterday, one of whom is a young man who had some things to say about cyber bullying that got me thinking about what a different world we live in than the one I experienced as a young teenager in the seventies. Different not in good ways like ipods and Hybrid Toyotas have made things different, but in the new and inventive ways that young people find to be mean spirited and cruel to each other.

Of course teenagers and pre-teens throughout all generations have possessed that very special gift for heinous emotional destructiveness toward their fellow kind. But there's an extra special degree of heartless shittiness displayed by younger generations that I seem to remember as being more tempered when I was a youngster, even one on the receiving end of an atomic wedgie.

Internet technology alone has elevated adolescent cruelty to new and exciting heights, which is only just and fitting and certainly in itself nothing new. The Inquisition employed state of the art technological innovations in the middle ages for the creative application of pain. Now, in addition to the traditional avenues of assholery like school halls, bathrooms, playgrounds, locker rooms and, for that extra-added dose of humiliation, right before the eyes of a particular infatuation de-jour, teenage bullies can now casually seek to publicly destroy the lives of their targets with a laptop paid for by mom and dad. And as a bonus, it's easier on the heartless little fuckers' tender conscience when they can't hear the lonely weeping over the distance of cyberspace.

Is bullying really that much worse than it was when I was a kid? Unfortunately I honestly believe that it is. Why, then? Is it because younger generations have been more indulged? Ignored? Feel more entitled? Spend too many hours in front of a tv either being spoon fed psychotic crap or playing endless hours of worthless Grand Theft fucking Auto with clueless parents saying, "it's only a game." Have they been deliberately taught not to care about other people because all that matters is what you can get for yourself, how you look, what you wear, what you have? Is this the natural evolution of the entitled, me, me attitudes cultivated by the boomer generation and passed on down the line? I suspect all of the above has something to do with it. I should probably check with Oprah on this.

When I think of this stuff I get angry and frustrated because I know it exists and there's really nothing I can do about it aside from trying be a responsible parent and not raise a child who thinks it's okay to casually hurt people. My daughter is just turning five years old and it scares the hell out of me to think of the kind of evil crap she'll have to face by the time she's in high school.

End of rant.


Dragonboy said...

You swear a lot. Thanks for linking to my article and I can see that you are angry. Kids can be cruel.

Rose said...

You would think it would be just teens partaking in this online bullying, but it is not. How do you explain adults who bully and harass other adults? Grown adults are creating blogs that target other bloggers.

They post private emails, edited photos of you with offensive comments, hate messages about you, anything they think that discriminates you.

A bully is just someone with a meaningless life who strives and lives for conflict.

The anonymity of the internet has made it just that much worse, because it gives harassers the power to attack others with little risk of being caught and for those being harassed via their Blogspot blogs, Blogger provide no protection.

It is very unfortunate that many bloggers are unable to enjoy their blogging experience due to harassment.

Judge Edward Fadeley, Retired Associate Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court stated “Today’s blogosphere is a veritable Wild West of verbal ambushes and shootouts, with very little fear of legal recourse to keep character assassination, defamation and dirty business tricks in check.” The Judge is correct.

Daniel Lyons, in a Nov. 14, 2005 Forbes article says “Blogs started a few years ago as a simple way for people to keep online diaries. Suddenly they are the ultimate vehicle for brand-bashing, personal attacks, political extremism and smear campaigns. It’s not easy to fight back: Often a bashing victim can’t even figure out who his attacker is.”

Blogger refuses to remove hosted racist blogs and Blogger is hosting an al Qaeda website that they refuse to remove.

"On the racist blog they publish names, home addresses and photographs - but they also go a step further. Although most have been removed now
due to increased police attention, one of the websites in question also included incitements to violence in the (moderated) comments section."

The blogosphere and the internet can be wonderful and it can be dangerous. I supervise both my kids online.

Uncle Artemus said...

dragonboy -
I know, sorry. My wife says so too.
Bullies have always made me angry and I tend to swear a bit when I'm angry. It passes.

Uncle Artemus said...

rose -

I guess I've just recently seen the degree of bullying as so much more intense than it used to be. It's odd that as we strive more and more for political correctness and acceptance of differences, we become more and more mean spirited as a society. Where is that reflected more than in young people?

I honestly had no idea that hatefulness on such a personal level was so common in the cyber world.

Smalltown RN said...

excellent post. I think children are more aggressive. Internet allows them to freely say things that they wouldn't say to another persons face and they can disguise who they are. How cruel is that.

As far as bullying in person. When my middle daughter was 15 year old daughter was "swarmed". For no reason other than the girls didn't like that she was popular. It was awful black eye and bleeding nose. I never remember girls beating up girls when I was younger. Did we get mad...sure we did...but did we physically fight, no. Well at least not where I came from.

I have tried to instill in my children tolerance and fair play and to fight with words and wit and to challenge them and if all fails step away. But most importantly to keep lines of communication open with our children...find out what is going on at school or in the personal life. Talk.

Thanks for the post....

Anonymous said...

UA, all I can say is Amen, brother. I fear the real challenge for us paRENTS THESE DAYS IS TO FIND A WAY TO RAISE A CHILD IN OUR CURRENT CULTURAL ATMOSPHERE WITH AT LEAST SOME MODICUM of self worth, confidence, and self-esteeem in tact. Your friends in Mo.

Rose said...

Uncle Artemus, There is a lot of hatred in this world. On the morning of September 11, 2001, the world witnessed the terrible repercussions of such hatred.

As parents, we must learn to create a safe and secure environment free from hatred for our children and our children’s children.

Sadly, the blogosphere has become a haven for defamatory, hatred and cyber harassment with no fear of legal consequences and as I said it isn’t just teen’s cyber bullying, adults do it also.

My son has also written a very interesting essay on body image that he'll be sharing.

Thank you once again for linking to him. :)

Miss Pink said...

My brother wrote that article and there were some kids here where we live kicked out of school for cyberbullying.

Uncle Artemus said...

Well miss pink, I'm glad sombody in authority is noticing and doing something about it.

I hear terrible stories about bullying of all sorts (cyber and otherwise)in the city public schools where I live. In many cases people have had to move their kids to private school because there's nothing anyone seems to be able to do about it.

Again, I'm glad they're paying attention to those kind of things where you live. Too often it's easy for adults to just ignore it and say, "It's just kids being kids."

sapphoq said...

It is adults too, Rose is quite right! I was glad to come across this article and I salute you Uncle Artemus for writing it. Yes, I believe that bullying has become more severe because it is now spilling out into cyberspace.

Uncle Artemus, if you type in "sapphoq" or "elder ravenfire" into your google search engine, you will be taken to some examples of what I and a friend have had to endure. ERF in particular-- he is now getting treatment for a serious medical condition.