If you don’t take the time to teach your kid not to bully, the internet will. And it won’t be pretty. There is a story going viral today of a blind teenage boy being bullied and his friends stepping in to protect him. The video footage is disturbingly violent yet, the internet is applauding the kids for stepping in to “bully the bully.” While the instinct is understandable, the bully is now facing the wrath of the internet after this video quickly made rounds on social media. No teenager deserves this treatment, no matter how terrible a bully he is.
This video footage, captured by a bystander, shows a blind teenage boy getting confronted by another boy who thought the blind teen was looking at his girlfriend. You read that right. That absurdity aside, this is difficult to watch. A warning that the video is graphic in both language and violence:
There is no denying the bully deserved to be dealt with somehow. The kids who stepped in had the right idea and the teen certainly needed defending. However, the bully’s Twitter account indicates that the violent footage you just saw was exactly as rough as it looked:
Eight stitches? That is overboard, no question. As the parent of a kindergartner who was bullied on the bus last year by fifth graders, my first urge is also to cheer on the boys attacking this bully. Their instincts are noble and any parent would want someone to step up if their child were being bullied. But drawing blood and causing a kid to require stitches is not something anyone should be excited about or referring to as “karma,” in the manner of some internet commenters. This is not karma. This is assault. At most, the bully deserved a quick shove, not a full-out violent attack ending in medical intervention.
If we condemn the bully, how can we then praise the kids who turned on him? The responses to Noah’s tweet are disturbing and show exactly why we need to teach our kids not to bully. Now that these videos can go viral, bullying incidents are no longer confined to the town in which they occur. They play out on a national stage with a teenage boy getting cyber-threats from a bunch of internet strangers:
Any article about the video is full of comments exactly like this. People are largely supporting the fact that a kid ended up with eight stitches and it’s simply not ok. It is more important now than ever that we teach our children how wrong it is to bully because if we don’t, this could happen to them too. Not only are we failing to teach them to be decent human beings, we’re also setting them up for this kind of massive internet smack-down. It is going to be a long time before Noah lives this down and yes, he deserved some form of retribution, but at the end of the day, he’s just a kid too.
Would you want your teenage son receiving threats the world over because of one incident that got out of hand? It’s a whole new world since everyone has cameras on their phones and can cause a video to go viral at the touch of a button. We need to be more vigilant than ever in protecting our kids not only from bullying, but from becoming bullies themselves.