Imagine that a fight between two adolescent kids is taking place. It’s after school and they’re near the schoolyard and the shouts and taunts attract your attention. A crowd of their peers has formed, egging the kids on as they fight. Do you step in and stop them or stand back and use your phone to capture the show?
Your answer determines more than just what type of person you are. It also illustrates a large part of the problem with today’s society.
We often glorify violence to the point of accepting it as a part of everyday. It’s not hurting you, right? So why should you care? This will make great YouTube, though, and your friends will think it’s great! Right?
For many reasons, children fighting are actually much more dangerous than adults. They are less aware of the consequences of the injuries they could (and often do) inflict on one another and worse, are often schooled in fighting from movies and television, which portrays it as either a brutally violent affair (blood and guts) or a long, drawn-out John Wayne punch fest where nobody really gets hurt when it’s all over.
Most schoolyard fights are mostly trash talking and attempts at humiliation without much physical violence being committed. They often end after the first punch or kick is thrown. When the crowd eggs them on, however, and the participants know they’re being filmed for the Internet, they may get more violent in order to peacock for the camera. Some videos recently have shown children who’re clearly done fighting (on the ground) being kicked and hit by their opponent anyway, who often gleefully smiles for the camera as the blood flows.
With social media, the taping of a fight like this can go viral and be spread all over the Internet, usually to those who are within the peer group of the people fighting. This encourages more violence.
So are the people who stand and watch, and especially the people who film responsible for the fight? A strong argument saying they were, since their taunts and taping of the event likely egged it into violence or even perpetuated it. Should they be held accountable? In my mind, absolutely. Obtain the footage and go after each and every one of the kids cheering them on instead of breaking it up.
How about the good Samaritan that steps in and stop the fight? They should be seen as heroes.
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books i' ve written
- Do It Yourself Online Reputation Management
- Checked-In: How To Use Gowalla, Foursquare and Other Geo-Location Applications For Fun and Profit
- Socially Elected: How To Win Elections Using Social Media