Social media is a wonderful tool – it makes and breaks news and trends, mobilizes movements and even allows you to share the most mundane nuggets of your life with anyone in the world at the click of a few buttons. Oh and also, it provides you with a platform for giving and seeking validation.
Of late, several posts and pictures of a young boy have been doing the rounds on Facebook. Several posts suggest that this boy is about 12-years-old and is seen in the typical staring into the distance poses with a deep, philosophical caption for company.
Now let’s face it, we have all posted pictures clicked by “accident” of us laughing with abandon, fingers in the hair, staring far ahead and into the light and have put it up on social media with a lyrics of a song that we probably just googled to go with the picture. And while a part of the cool culture is to diss these ‘superficial’ posts, some of us still do it; and that’s OKAY.
But somehow this boy has invited an entire army of cyber bullies and trolls for doing the same amateur thing that many of us mature, Facebook-guidelines abiding 18+ adults are still guilty of.
Many pages have taken screenshots of his posts and have circulated them widely. The photos see this child looking up, accompanied by the words “Pain is the only thing that telling me I am alive.” Another one reads “pain makes you stronger, fear makes you braver, heartbreak makes you wisher”.
A page called ‘Bitch please’ has shared these posts with a deriding caption which reads - “Chota bheem band ho gaya kya?” (Has ‘chota bheem’ stopped airing?) implying that the boy has no business putting out such posts when worst that can happen in his life is TV channels halting telecast of his favourite cartoon.
There are several other pages that have taken it upon themselves to ridicule this boy similarly. But that’s not the scariest part.
Thank goodness for social media, someone woke up and realized what was happening. Posts calling out trolls and bullies for targeting him also began surfacing. However – and here is where it gets really scary – there are people who are actually justifying the needling this kid is being subjected to.
These are some of the comments that followed.
Here’s a summary of the reasons why it’s justified according to comments on these posts –
- He is a 12-year-old and is not supposed to be on Facebook in the first place.
- Now that he is on a social media website, and putting out such pictures with such captions, he should be ready for consequences of being on the internet.
- Kids have to learn somehow.
- Isn’t 12 too young an age to be cyber-bullied?
- Jeers and taunts are part of being on the internet and do not mean he is being cyber-bullied.
- He doesn’t understand bullying. And he is clearly doing this for attention so it’s okay.
If you agree with any of these reasons, then congratulations, you are a cyber-bully.
For those who do not understand what’s the big deal about this, let me break it down for you in the same order.
- He is a TWELVE year old boy. You are older. Hopefully more mature. And probably did not join Facebook before you were allowed to. So he lied about his age and joined Facebook. He is not the first and he wont be the last. Is he flouting the rules? Yes. But how does that justify the ridicule he is getting for simply trying to be a part of the digital culture? Isn’t that what YOU are doing too if you are sharing posts on either side of this debate?
- No person, no matter what the age, wants to be bullied. Yes, he shouldn’t be on a social media platform at the age of 12 but why have we taken the baton on ourselves to punish him for it?
- Yes kids should learn. But what makes you the collective conscience of right and wrong? Justifying sharing his posts with demeaning words does not make you a responsible adult trying to ‘teach’ a kid what happens when he makes his pictures public on social media. It makes you a moron.
- THERE IS NO MINIMUM AGE TO BE CYBER-BULLIED. Period.
- Jeers and taunts are different from friendly banter, the keyword in the latter being ‘friend’. Jeers, taunts and incessant insults aimed at a 12-year-old are a part of cyber-bullying, which sadly, is a part of the internet culture. Having said that, cyber-bullying is by no means okay. EVER.
- He may not understand what bullying is but you do. Says more about you than about him. And so what if he was posting those pictures and captions for attention? Don’t you do the same when you post pictures, status updates and selfies on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? Sure, you may justify that it’s for your friends and your profile is private but so what if his isn’t?
Let’s get off our high horses and understand one simple thing – everyone seeks validation in one form or another. That does not make it okay for a 12-year-old to be morphed into a poster boy for attention-seeking.
To put it simply, this entire discourse is not about pushing a young boy onto the right path by teaching him a lesson. Incidentally, the same excuse is used for corrective rape. Is that justified too?
Cyber bullies never do what they do for anyone else’s benefit. Those justifying the endless pinching and needling as a ‘corrective’ measure or something this kid ‘asked for’ are merely trying to belong to a group that has the numbers but no grit. And such people have no right to talk about the morality of attention-seeking.