The Lowe Down
If you met yourself as another person, would you like that person? Would they be a good influence on you?
Last week, Corning Superintendent Kellee Smith touched on an important topic in her School Notes column on the Education Page. She broached the subject of bullying. It’s a timely topic for all ages. Mrs. Smith is correct in saying that our children are watching to see how we handle life situations. Social media has provided a microphone to all users to express an opinion on everything, 24 hours a day. Long gone are the days of the adage, “If you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything at all.” These days many brag about the fact they have no filter. I’m all for people being themselves, but if being yourself means harming others with word or deed; I’m out. Smith’s piece was a call to end bullying. You’d think it wouldn’t be necessary to ask that of adults, but sadly she felt compelled and I support her act of courage.
Many of our readers may be unfamiliar with how Facebook and social media can harbor and reveal a person’s character. It can go something like the following: a public comment is made, sometimes a disguised request for information or comment that turns into a “pile on”. I refer to a “pile on” as when someone instigates a negative spin and others pile on with comments. It’s like fishing for negativity and there are plenty of people ready to take the bait. It seems people can’t wait to comment their bad experience with someone or something all in the name of helping a friend, being honest or requesting information. And that ladies and gentlemen, is how our kids are being schooled in how to be rude, mean or to bully. The lesson comes complete with how to earn a “get-out-ofjail-free-card” when the offenders say when questioned something like, “but I was just …“ and end that sentence with “asking a question”, “being honest” or “kidding”. The word, “just” seems to resolve a multitude of offenses. I am “just” appalled at their behavior. Though social media has many good uses and I love it; there are many opportunities to use its power in negative ways. It’s this use of social media that reveals the ugliest side of humanity. This is what teachers and school administration have to contend with as they attempt to educate our young people to be successful members of society. Sometimes they even have to model personally how to handle negativity online as they, too, are sometimes tried in the social media court of opinion as well.
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