Upset? Disturbed? Pissed? You should be. I know I would be if that statement popped up as the subject of an email in my inbox.
Guess what? Our kids are sending and receiving these types of messages. I know this for a fact because I’ve heard directly from children I know who’ve been encouraged to kill themselves via text messages, apps, social media, etc. Are all kids doing it? Surely not. But it has become a “thing” and if parents don’t take heed and aggressively insert themselves into their children’s private communications, it will continue.
Bullying is just not what it used to be. Technology has taken it to a whole ‘nother level. Don’t believe me? Go ask your kids. Read this article. Do some google searches of your own.
“Why aren’t you dead?” “You should die.” “Wait a minute, why are you still alive?” “Go kill yourself.”
They were sent to 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick, who ultimately jumped to her death in September, he said. The messages didn’t come via the social networking sites many of us are familiar with: Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. They were sent via newer, lesser-known social applications called Ask.fm and Kik, according to Judd.
Parents, we have got to do more. It’s not enough to ask them about their day. It’s not enough to monitor their Facebook accounts. It’s not even enough to peek in on their text messages every now and then. We’ve got to get “all up in their business.” Until they are 18 and paying their own internet and phone bill, you have every right, make that an obligation, to read what they are sending and receiving.
We’ve also got to pull ourselves out of our own phones and start communicating with one another. Join groups like your local chapter of Not In Our Town and start talking to other parents. Bring this stuff up in PTA meetings (including at the elementary level) and make it a priority action item. Adopt initiatives through your churches or other organizations and tackle this problem head on. Listen to your children when they don’t think you are. Have you ever heard what they hear through those xBox headsets? Please, please, please start talking, listening and reacting.