This story has been all over the news. There have been a number of responses. Some calling for her to be sacked, some raising questions about social media and whether teenagers understand the potential ramifications of what they post, some stereotyping ‘teenagers’
This got me thinking back to when I was 14-16 and all of the silly things I said and did, which are not recorded on any social media sites as they weren’t around then. Lucky for me I would say. Social media can be a mind field. If you don’t have a full grasp of privacy settings or the true public nature of what you post. Facebook can be used to document moments of life, rather like a diary used to. The difference is a diary was kept hidden under your bed and Facebook is there for all to see.
Twitter captures 140 characters of thought, links, opinion. How many of us think through our tweets every time before we send? At times, the timeline becomes a battle ground and everyone is exposed to the argument or disagreement.
Do we hold ourselves as accountable as we are holding Paris Brown?
I do believe that a new type of parenting has evolved through social media, digital parenting. Children and young people do need help and guidance with navigating social media as they do in all areas of life. I feel for parents who have suddenly had to try and get their heads around Facebook and twitter, cyber bullying, trolling, giving their children a long view about the permanency of what they write.
I also believe that we have a tendency to vilify teenagers for their behaviour. We are quick to judge and write them off. We are happy to lump them all together and see them as a group to be avoided rather than individuals who deserve to be given a chance.
Recently, there have been a number of programmes about improving opportunities for disadvantage young people. Secret Millions is a good example of this. We are at last exposed to the truth of the situation. Many young people do not feel valued, do not feel they have opportunities and don’t have people around them willing to work with them and build them up.
This is not a post about parenting, we all have a responsibility for the young people in our communities. We can all speak into and affect a young person’s life for good. We are often quick to judge parents and blame them for all the problems, the same way we do with teachers and schools.
We are all accountable.