Thursday, April 21, 2011

Be Cognizant

You can think a lot of things about a lot of people, but you need to think twice when putting it online. Writing mean-spirited remarks is counter-productive. Remember that how we live our lives is how our children live theirs. Be cognizant of your digital and social footprint.
I was compelled to post this before President Obama's White House Facebook Town Hall Meeting.  Before he was introduced and appeared Facebook users were encouraged to post questions that the President could answer during the forum.  There were many thought provoking and sincere questions posed for the President.  Then...there were other posts.
Its probably one thing when you hear about people posting really mean things online, but when you see it occurring in real time it is shocking.  The f word was used towards the President.  Republicans were being attacked.  Democrats were being attacked.  And some of the comments were worded in such a way that you could feel hatred and ill will dripping from them.  Many people were using this particular forum as a sounding board, stating their unsolicited opinions about our president and American politics.
I know that this was not a unique experience because I see a few adults participate in this type of behavior on Twitter.  A thirteen-year-old girl is receiving death threats on the YouTube video she posted.  Not to mention all of the celebrities whose physical appearance is attacked in the media when they gain weight or make other poor choices, like Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen.  It may sound extreme, and appear that I am suggesting we feel sorry for all of these people.  But it is not.  Whenever we speak or type unkind words about another human being, regardless of their role, rank, or status we are engaging in mean-spirited behavior.
We were outraged when the young man attending Rutgers committed suicide.  We were outraged when Phoebe Prince committed suicide.  We were outraged when the young boy was hung on a fence.  If we want children to stop engaging in this type of negative behavior than we adults, those who are responsible for guiding young people in our world, need to cease engaging in similar behavior.