When Twitter first exploded, one of my friends likened it to Myspace on speed. Now, in the midst of an epidemic of violence, sex, racism and celebrity, the social media site has become a breeding ground for young internet thugs who have too much time on their hands and not enough parental guidance.
Aided and abetted by World Star Hip-Hop, a cesspool of a website that risks children’s lives on a regular basis for page views and ad clicks, little girls are becoming (in)famous for taking Twitter disputes to the streets with bruised egos and video phones – and getting seriously hurt in the process.
The equivalent to “Meet me around the corner at 3:00 p.m. after school gets out,” has morphed into “I’m coming to your doorstep and beating the sh*t out of you – and I’m recording it too, bitch.”
This was never so apparent as the video that circulated a few weeks ago of a girl getting beaten within an inch of her life. A girl, who apparently had an issue with some words that were written in the Twittersphere, knocked on her doorstep with a camera crew and proceeded to drag her out of her own home. Yes, it was WSHH that broadcast the incident to the entire world. We must give credit where credit is due.
(Sidenote: If you want to see two little girls fighting like rabid animals, you’ll have to google it yourself, because I won’t be posting it.)
Conya Doss, award-winning soul singer and special education teacher in the Cleveland, Ohio school system, spends her days working with at-risk children and believes that there is a direct correlation between social media and reality TV. The effects are then manifested through our children’s behavior, both in the streets and at school:
“The social media and reality TV have become the new role models for our youth,” Doss says. “It has failed to do so in a positive manner. A large percent of our conflicts at school stem from Facebook and Twitter beefs. It makes it so hard to resolve because so many other factors are involved and the impact is so much more destructive because rumors and slander reach so many more people.”
Doss draws musical inspiration from her students and their struggles for identity and incorporates socially conscious artists such as Nina Simone and Marvin Gaye into her classes. Still, she says that Twitter “beefs” erupt on a regular basis:
“I have seen very similar events like the Cleveland girl assault video which circulated WSHH,” says Doss. “Some serious consequences need to be put into effect. Too many don’t see the impact of this and it truly is horrible.”
This is about so much more than “social media” and its pseudo-premise of entertainment and promotion. This is a business that cares little about the detrimental impact they are having in the lives of young children, but unfortunately, the blame doesn’t simply fall on Twitter. We also have “professionals,” such as Toure instigating “beef” with Roland Martin over a damn basketball game, Roland Martin instigating beef with the entire gay community over a Super Bowl ad, Kim Kardashian never missing an opportunity to post a provocative picture and Rihanna showing how much she loves her “Mary Jane” and “Cake” while giving shout-outs to her tween fans. And not to be outdone, we also have none other than Tamar Braxton trying to pick a fight with Jill Scott over a comment about positive imagery of Black women on television. If our children ever hope to be “famous,” what else are they supposed to do but act like damn fools for the world to see?
Note to Tamar: That was sheer ignorance.edu.
Yes, parents and guardians are ultimately to blame for how, where and with whom their children spend their time, but any business that is willing to be the conduit for youth violence should be held responsible for its actions and at the very least be called out for it by concerned adults. Twitter, along with websites such as WSHH, who so brazenly posts titles such as “We Gotta Stop Twitter Violence: Another Chick Gets Beat Up Because Of Twitter!” — while simultaneously posting said video for page views — should understand that they are not fooling anyone. No one believes they want to stop the violence any more than the United States really wants to stop the wars. Bottom line, it’s all about profit and popularity — the same illusive goals our children are searching for — and they should be ashamed of themselves.
Twitter: Make that your next trending topic.