But there are some dark sides to all this communication, and sadly the results can be tragic.
Technology has elevated bullying to a whole new level. When I was active in my job, I worked with children. This was a long time ago, and there was no such thing as Facebook and Twitter and instant messaging.
When I dealt with the victims of bullies, no matter how horrible these individuals were feeling, no matter how bad the day had become, at least I could reassure them that they were safe at home. They had a respite. A time to recover, gain strength and regroup their energy in order to try to face another day.
But today all that has changed.
A bullied child is at risk 24 hours a day. Messaging, Facebook, the Internet, posted Photographs….. it is relentless. There is no respite. Home is no longer safe.
There are no longer any “off hours” from dealing with the social maelstrom of adolescence.
Tragically this has led to the ultimate horror, teen suicide. The numbers are mounting, but two come immediately to mind. There was a young girl in Missouri a few years ago who was bullied over Facebook, and more recently a young man took his own life at Rutgers University in New Jersey after being videotaped in embarrassing circumstances.
I did not have to face this as a parent, since my children pre-date the social media explosion. But for the parents of children today, I wish you the strength, the courage, the endurance to help your children navigate through these terribly dangerous waters. Support their sense of self, help them to understand the importance of making good choices, and above all, keep the conversation flowing.
Yesterday Tilly Bud at the Laughing Housewife posted the video that ends this blog post. I thank her for bringing it to my attention.
A young Canadian girl, Amanda Todd, fell into the web that is on the dark side of the internet. She made a bad choice, and it triggered events that spun out of control.
She tells her story silently in this video. She posted this in September. And last week she died. Suicide. Incredibly sad. Incredibly powerful.
If you have any children in your life, you can’t afford not to watch it.