I came across an interesting online article today, which got me buzzing. It was posted on Jezebel.com, which appears to be a blog site that has become quite successful. The "About" section only describes the site as: "Home of Shiny Happy Ladies" with about a dozen editors/writers/contributors to its credit. As a fellow blogger, if I can be called that, and one who certainly has an opinion, I applaud their platform of speaking out. However, I must take issue with the article that brought this group to my attention, as I think it went a bit too far, and is not much above the behavior it was scorning.
The article in question is in response to "hate tweets" in the aftermath of our most recent election. I can not agree more with the author that the hate messages being spread on Twitter are offensive and unnecessary. However, the author went after teens, and teens only. Had she gone after adults I wouldn't be writing this post. Kids are still learning and when they make mistakes, it is our responsibility as parents, educators, mentors, etc., to help them learn from those mistakes, not ridicule them.
Granted, the teens posted in a public forum, and without anonymity, but the article draws specific attention to only a handful of kids, naming names, identifying schools, and trying to determine what discipline their schools did or did not take. Being minors does not excuse these individuals for what they said, but I disagree with the method used to call them to the carpet. Was it responsible? Was it appropriate? Do two wrongs make a right?
I'm fine with the kids being held accountable for their posts, but privately, not publicly. I worry that this article will cause these kids trouble beyond what they deserve, and it appears in some cases it has already done so. In this day and age of our insatiable desire for simple sound-bytes, a person's entire character is often judged based on merely one thoughtless statement made in the heat of the moment.
These are likely good kids who thought they were being grown-up, or possibly even funny. Hopefully they have learned that while we have the right to free speech in this country, it should be used responsibly and respectfully. If you have something to say, if you have an opinion, a belief, something worth sharing, by all means do so, but don't spew hate and ugliness, it doesn't accomplish anything more than starting a nasty argument, even if you just thought your were being smart, clever or funny. And to Jezebel, you also need to think before you post.