I watched a video on Facebook last night and I really feel the need to talk about it. This has nothing to do with my life, but it definitely had an effect on it. It was a video about bullying. Maybe you should watch it for yourself. You can find the video on my Facebook page, or read the news articles that followed:
ITV News – Birmingham Girl Arrested Over Facebook Bullying Video Goes Viral
I shared the video on my Facebook wall which I appreciate makes me a bit of a hypocrite. Some may see this as bullying too – naming and shaming a bully to six million people over social media. I don’t think so. Let me explain myself.
We live in a world that rotates around technology now. When you do something in public, you MUST be prepared for other people to see it. Whether that’s by CCTV or a video / photo taken on someone’s mobile phone, there’s a good chance your every move is being documented somehow. It’s a sad state of affairs but that’s the way it is, and when things like this happen, I am glad of it. If this video hadn’t been made, and made public, there’s a good chance this incident would never have been brought to justice, and thankfully, this evil, vindictive bitch is now in custody, being investigated by police.
As someone that has been on the nasty little end of one of these ‘playground pranks’, I can wholeheartedly sympathise with the embarrassment, shame and fear that the two girls on the end of this bully’s actions would have felt. I remember being in the centre of the school yard where all the bags were kept, trying to get to my own right at the back. One of the popular girls in school grabbed my bag, held it up in front of everyone, and mocked it. It wasn’t the Morgan designer one that all the other girls had that year. I wasn’t really up with the latest fashion trends. I wasn’t a skank, by any means, but I just wasn’t a designer baby. My parent’s struggled financially, as I’m sure many other’s did, and although I had everything I needed, I was more likely to have Primark than Prada.
She wouldn’t give me my bag back, and more and more kids were coming out of the dining hall. Before I knew it, there was a small crowd forming. She belittled me, my lack of designer clothing, and my shitty bag for what like eternity in front of everyone else. In reality it was probably only around 10 minutes. She made me crawl halfway over the bags to try and get to her, to get my bag out of her hand, and then she threw it right to the other end so that I had to crawl my way back out again. It was mortifying. My skirt went up as I was crawling around on my hands and knees like a dog, and I’m pretty sure one of the lads shouted he could see my underwear. Right there, at that particular moment, I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me. Everyone was watching. Everyone was laughing. Lots of things like that happened to me at school. I was bullied pretty badly, to the point where I attempted suicide one Sunday night, terrified at the prospect of going back to the school the next day. Terrified at the thought of facing the loneliness and abandonment that every day brought with it. I was so isolated. I didn’t fit in anywhere. I didn’t really have any friends. I guess I was the weird kid.
My experience back then in the school yard with my bag – if that had happened now, it would have gone something like that video. Except the entire school will probably see that video, and have a constant reminder of it too. The evolution of bullying. Can you believe it?
I’m very anti-bullying now. I might be a bitch and say it straight, but I’m not a bully. If I see someone being bullied, I will instantly jump to their defence. I don’t mind the odd prank, but there is a fine line, and I won’t sit back and watch if someone crosses it.
You see, after watching that video, I toyed with the idea of sharing it on my Facebook page. If I shared it, I would be just as bad, wouldn’t I? Instead of belittling her and shaming her to a small group of my friends however, I would be joining the masses – 6 million other people – to publicly shame and humiliate her across the world.
I chose to do it anyway. And this is my reason why….
Teachers, policemen, parents – these adults have no authority over kids these days. This is becoming increasingly apparent. I had a fairly strict upbringing, and I was disciplined if I did something wrong. I would be given a warning the first time and if I ignored it and did it again, I would get a swift, sharp slap across the back of the tops of my legs. Sometimes a handprint would be left behind, and it would sting for a while, but it never caused me any serious damage and you can bet your last buck I wouldn’t do whatever it was again. I feel that parenting is too soft these days. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t agree with beating your child black and blue, but discipline is important. Smacking a child’s hand when they repeatedly reach for a candle isn’t battering them, or child abuse, it’s education and discipline. If you don’t slap the child’s hand away when they don’t listen to you say “No”, it will burn itself on the candle. Of course, you could always just remove the candle entirely and wrap the child up in cotton wool. But that’s a different kind of parenting technique altogether.
The point I’m trying to make here is that the ONLY way to teach kids just like this bully these days, is by naming and shaming. Do you think that she would have listened to her parents about this incident? Do you think anything her parents could have said or done would have made a difference to her behaviour? No, she would have gotten her phone taken away from her for a week or so, would have been made to apologise to the other girls, and life would have gone on as normal. She probably would have gone on to do it again to someone else.
Even if the cops had been involved before the whole Facebook name-and-shame, do you think they would have been able to do anything? If that video hadn’t existed, they wouldn’t have. There wouldn’t have been enough evidence. And if the Facebook sharing situation hadn’t happened, the incident would never have been brought to the cop’s attention anyway. It even says on the news report that a ‘Facebook post has been brought to their attention’.
This aside, kids don’t learn from parents. They don’t listen to cops, or teachers, or anyone meant to have authority. If they did, getting grounded and getting detention would still work. When I got grounded, I didn’t do what I did wrong again. I hated being grounded. If a kid gets grounded now, my younger sister being a classic example, they would just shout and scream so loud and for so long, the parents let them out the house anyway, in a bid to shut them up.
There is no discipline.
Do you want to know what will make a difference to this girl’s behaviour though? The opinions of her peers – the opinions and thoughts of the six million other people over the internet. She will be mortified by this event, so much so that I can personally guarantee she probably won’t do it again. Looking at her pictures, she’s clearly a girl that makes an effort with the way she looks, which would suggest she would care what people think about her. So the fact that right now, six million people think so badly about her, they would adorn their Facebook walls with videos of her ugly actions, will hurt her deep. She will be too scared to be a bully again.
Facing the judgemental looks of your friends, parents, and teachers is one thing. Facing the judgemental looks of the entire world is something else entirely.
If prison, detention, grounding, or a good telling-off worked, the world wouldn’t be the way it is today. It would still be the way it was twenty years ago, thirty years ago, whatever – when people were frightened about going to prison, and the thought of getting told off by your parents simply terrified you. The world is very different, and the internet makes a massive difference to how we all live our lives. As much as most of us would wish it weren’t true, this Facebook naming and shaming is probably one of the only things that would have worked to stop this bully. And regardless of what may have happened in the lead up to this; regardless of what the two bullied girls may have said or done, THIS was the part that was on video and shared to the entire world. And for that, the bully herself is to blame. If she hadn’t done that; if she hadn’t treated those two girls like utter shit, disrespecting them in a way that girls really shouldn’t disrespect each other, she wouldn’t have anything to worry about. And if she hadn’t stupidly let her friends record her, in a bid to saviour the memory to make herself feel better later on, to laugh at and to mock those two poor girls one more time, it would never have ended up on Facebook.
You see, your consequences have actions these days, especially over social media. And this is a lesson this bully has now learned. Let’s hope it’s a mistake she doesn’t repeat.
So yes, as much as publicly naming and shaming this girl may ruin her life, she is already well on her way to ruining two other girls lives. The only difference is, her Facebook fame will be over and done with in a couple of weeks, with the general public moving onto their next victim. The two girls that she bullied – that will have a lasting impact on their mental health – the way they think about themselves, for the rest of their lives. Because bullying does have a long-lasting effect. And before you say that the naming and shaming will affect the bully for the rest of her life too, so will prison, or whatever sentence she gets from her crime. If it even gets that far. She did the crime – she deserves to do the time. That’s called justice.
Plus, those videos would have been made in a bid to mock those girls later on. There was no other purpose to keeping the memory of that bullying event. They did that to either share on Facebook themselves later on, or just to keep and have something to laugh at. Either way, it’s sick and it’s twisted, and something needs to be done to stop it. It’s abuse. If it were sexual, we wouldn’t stand for it. If it were physical (which it was at one point), we wouldn’t stand for it. So why do we stand for it when it is mental abuse? Deliberately humiliating people in front of others, making them beg or apologise, getting them to bow down on their knees…. Sorry, but doesn’t this behaviour set a lot of alarm bells going off? If we let that kind of behaviour grow and evolve, what would happen? In five years time, or ten years time, how far on will this bullying have got? How long before this girl carries a knife? Or decides to throw a girls bag into the road again and get her killed by a passing car?
Not just treating this bully a lesson, it also teaches the world a valuable lesson. I bet a lot of her friends will be re-evaluating their behaviour right now. I bet some of them will question what they are doing before they do it, or what they say before they say it. I bet it will put at least one of them off being a bully ever again. And if we can stop just one bully from this, that’s only a good thing.
A little out of control – most definitely.
Needed to prove a point to society, especially impressionable, silly young girls – 100%.