Friday, January 18, 2008

Life or Death

As I'm sure everyone knows by now, a poor girl committed suicide recently because she was bullied on Myspace. Now the reactionary media are having their typical field day: Myspace will kill your kids; the internet will kill you kids; be afraid, be very afraid. Sadly, the truth is lost in here somewhere, as well meaning but clueless parents everywhere now think that the way to protect their kids is to keep them off of Myspace.

This happens every few years. When I was young, some kids killed themselves over a Dungeons & Dragons game - so my parents told me I couldn't play D&D. (That didn't last very long.) Then when the 80s rolled around, Heavy Metal was the cause of suicides, and was something to be watched. (The music, not the fantasy comic magazine or movie.) The 90's brought us the Columbine shootings, and suddenly the "something to blame" was first-person-shooters. Now the culprit is Myspace.

Parents: while it may be a trigger - a game, a website, or a song is not going to make your kid kill him or herself. If someone commits suicide, it's because they're hurting to the point that they just want it to end. When people feel a strong emotion, they often can't remember ever feeling any other way. For this reason, people commit suicide.

There is one thing the Columbine shooters and the victim Myspace tragedy have in common: bullying. For some kids, school becomes a terrible place, where they're often ground into the dirt by shits who just won't let up on them. This is because humans are basically primates. Some are wired to constantly try to climb to the top of the ladder on others' backs, (I'm not excusing such behavior, I'm explaining it.) This makes life a living hell for those who aren't wired to be competitive alphas. Sometimes, the kids' homes are hell for them as well. I think suicide happens when there's nowhere to go to get away from the pain.

So what's the answer? I have no idea. Every person is different. Listen to your kids, pay attention to them, but at the same time, respect their privacy. Remember that if you're looking hard to find a problem, you're going to see evidence of that problem no matter what. Sometimes, all you can do is love.



Lou said...

Well said!

Knitting Painter Woman said...

It's posts like this that let us "remote viewers" know you are a good guy.

MIKE said...

i couldn't have put it better myself, excellent post