Last week, two news involving school children shocked the nation – #BoisLockerRoom controversy and suicide by a teenager in Gurugram after his classmate accused him of rape on social media.
The initial reaction upon hearing about the Bois Locker Room case was of disgust. How can boys talk like that? This is how rapists are born, said many on social media. Police also swung into action and arrested the admin of the group. The controversy took a new turn when a similar group on Instagram was discovered, this time by the name of #girlslockerroom and operated by teenage girls. The children and their parents were abused by activists on social media (SM).
The ugliness of SM was revealed once again when news spread about suicide committed by a class 12 school boy following a social media post by his female classmate. The 17-year-old girl had accused him of molestation in her Instagram post. The boy was then trolled and shamed by his friends and social media activists, causing anguish to the teenager.
Curiosity to talk about sex or human bodies is natural among teenagers. And before we give them lectures about ‘objectification of women’s bodies,’ how about preaching the same to our entertainment industry or bollywood? After all, haven’t our ads and movies normalised objectification of female bodies?
While the above incidents are sad and deserve condemnation, what is worrying is how easily we pass judgments about people (even kids) without even knowing the complete story. In both these cases, the involved parties comprised school-going children. Teenagers, to be specific. Yes, they belonged to well-off families, talked casually about rape, sex and women/men bodies but does that mean we portray them as criminals (potential rapists). They are children, after all. Rather, immature adolescents. Many of them likely to be still in the process of understanding the biological changes taking place in their bodies. Curiosity to talk about sex or human bodies is natural among them. If only we had bothered to teach them about ‘Sex education’ in the right manner and not left them at the mercy of Google and social media to discover answer to their questions, they wouldn’t have indulged in this kind of ‘filthy’ talk. And before we give them lectures about ‘objectification of women’s bodies,’ how about preaching the same to our entertainment industry or bollywood? After all, haven’t our ads and movies normalised objectification of female bodies?
There’s no denying the fact that these incidents do highlight the challenges of parenting in today’s age. But then parenting was never easy. Raising a child involves commitment, responsibility and dedication. Just because you are married doesn’t mean you are fit to be a parent. (READ ALSO: Seven reasons why we need a school for parents)
We need to teach our students about ‘social media etiquettes.’ What to post, where to post? How to react in case someone posts something controversial? Where should one draw a line? One wrong post and they can lose an admission in a good college or a job in future.
Third and most important thing that we need to learn from these incidents is ‘social media etiquettes.’ What to post, where to post? How to react in case someone posts something controversial? Where should one draw a line? In today’s world, there’s nothing called privacy when we go online. We are being constantly watched on social media. One wrong post and we can lose an admission in a good college, visa to our favourite country or simply a job. Hence, it’s important that children are taught to use the social media in the right way. Here, the responsibility lies more on school than parents as students listen to former more than the latter. (READ ALSO: This is how you can keep a check on your kid’s online behaviour)
While the above incidents are likely to change the lives of the involved children and their families, they should also teach our society to stop judging people on the basis of some random social media post, often posted by people by hiding their real identity. Just like in the #BoisLockerRoom case, where Delhi Police has found out that the widely shared Snapchat screenshot inciting rape was not part of the group chat. Instead, it was written by a girl using a male identity, to test her male friend’s character.
Aditi Bhan is the co-founder of The Peeper Times