What has happened to the "do unto others" and "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" teachings that we were once taught? Is it the news media, the video games, social media, television or movies? Have we lost our way completely?
We don't have to go far to find children and adults being nasty to one another. We see parents at little league games shout obscenities toward the umpires and referees. We have become more involved with our iPhone, iPad, or other device than we are with our children. And then we wonder why our young people act as they do. Could it be the lack of parenting! Many children today are not being taught moral responsibility or ethical behaviors; rather they are copying the adults around them.
According to Merriam-Webster's, ethics is "the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation." It is lacking today in too many of our homes!
Of course, this is a different time than when I grew up. Today the kids have all of the information they will ever need to know that it is OK to be mean, and hurtful. Take a look at the various electronic devices and social media outlets our kids have. There is Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, texting, voice mail, cell phones, computers, video games, LinkedIn, just to name a few. Kids see adults bully others, use vulgar language, wear their pants down to their crotches, and they think it is OK. They see people of power and fame go from one relationship to another, and they think it is OK. They watch television shows about zombies, murder and mayhem, and they think it is OK.
Well, it isn't. Our kids are emulating the adults around them. Parents need to parent!
Over this past couple of months I have seen postings by an adult in her 50s talking about her fabulous sex life. I have seen 10-year-old girls striking provocative poses with lips pursed and chests pushed out. I recently unfriended a close relative because I was tired of reading this 40-something woman's use of the "f" word, the "b" word, and more. A recent posting made a disparaging comment about a family member, it was hurtful and that was the intent! If children and young people see adults writing this stuff, then they will as well.
Being mean and nasty on Facebook or any other social media outlet is wrong. Nastiness hurts others; it is a form of bullying. Sixty-five percent of 8-14 year olds have been involved in a cyber-bullying incident. Where did they learn this? Did you read the above paragraph?
According to a report by the CBC News, a team of researchers identified teen suicide due to cyber-bullying has risen significantly. Their research showed 23 cases (56 per cent) taking place between 2003 and 2010. But in 2011 and the first four months of 2012, there were 18 cases of suicides with a cyberbullying link.
While there may be other factors, we cannot rule out the involvement of technology when it comes to bullying. People can post things to their various social media outlet pages and stand back and watch what happens without regard for who gets hurt. It seems that once the keypad is engaged, people have almost lost all sense of morality and right from wrong. And I believe that the producers of the violent movies, television shows and video games have become equally immune to how what they produce impacts our children and our society as a whole. Just look at three of the murders that took place this past week.
The three men who gunned down the Australian jogger did it because they were bored! This was a black on white killing it has almost been covered up in the media! Florida Republican Rep. Allen West lashed out at the President and the media for not coming out immediately and denouncing this horrific crime. West asked, "Who will POTUS identify with this time?" These three black men had posted on their Facebook page that they were going to kill a white person days before they actually pulled the trigger.
We heard of a World War II Veteran, Delbert Belton, who was mugged, robbed and killed in Spokane, Wash., by two men who decided to prey on the man those who knew him called a hero; they got away with almost $150.
Movies, television shows and video games continue to get the blame for violent behaviors exhibited by our young people, but don't the parents have a part in this? This past week an 8-year-old boy watched "Grand Theft Auto IV" and then intentionally shot and killed his elderly caregiver with her own gun.
Where are the parents when these horrible things are happening? Where are they when their children are posting meanness on their social networks? Where are they when it is time to teach ethical behaviors, morals and right from wrong? The Ten Commandments teach us to honor our father and our mother, but what about honoring our children? What about, thou shall not kill? What about do unto others? Teaching starts at home, and a good book to start with is the Bible.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the Rev. Martin Luther King. This is the 50th anniversary of his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. He was a man of peace, he abhorred violence, and he should be remembered for those things.
Have a great day.
Vicki Westling is a Dunkirk resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org