Trending Topic: #TwitterIsDestroyingOurYouth

by Kirsten West Savali

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

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.

  • Tonton Michel

    I have to agree, as much as I believe in holding parent, the culprits and consumer of debauchery responsible Twitter and WSHH are not even putting up a good front in recognizing the roles they play in this mess, throw in Facebook as well. I think we will see things slow down when more of these kids end up in a jail cell by producing their own evidence or when someone gets shot on video for running up on the wrong one.

  • Nikohl

    I am a middle school teacher and I have to deal with the drama of Facebook and Twitter in my classroom weekly. I don’t believe the problem is the social networking sites. The problem is the lack of supervision from parents. Parents let their children have cellphones and let them use computers without supervision and expect their teens to behave. They are TEENAGERS!! Just imagine what your adolescents would be like with these sites, a hot mess. And let’s be honest children are not the only ones misusing these sites, adults are too!

    Students need to be taught the consequences of their behavior on these networking sites but parents won’t do it so I believe in the future, teacher’s will have to take on this responsibility.

    Another problem is that parents allow their middle school children to watch adult shows like Jersey Shore or Basketball Wives. Of course children don’t understand that what is on tv is complete foolishness. These shows are setting examples of how to behave. Parents allow their children to be exposed to this crap and then expect them to have some kind of maturity. The adults on these shows act like they are 14.

    You can’t blame Twitter or Facebook. These are excellent social networking tools if adults and children used them correctly.

  • Jaywan

    I think the issue is deeper. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and WSHH are more of an outlet for young people to showcase who they are, what they stand for, and their interests. The problem is that violence, slander, and gossip are what they’re into. The sites should be making sure that these things don’t go up but the reality is long before social media sites existed or were popular violence was happening in high levels among teens. While they definitely play a role social media is not to blame completely for what is going on. Celebrities aren’t to blame, music isn’t to blame, not even just parents are to blame for what is happening. It is society and community as a whole. Adults should be doing more to counter the messages sent through social media. I have yet to see a site that encourages teens to upload success stories or more positive things. We can blame them”

  • overseas_honeybee

    Very true … its a symptom of a larger problem that’s only going to get worse if left unchecked. It makes it that much harder to correct them when adults/celebrities get on this sites and show they’re whole “behind”… while we can’t blame them, their influence is only adding fuel to the fire. While we just stand on the sidelines and “hope” these kids start acting better. Facebook and Twitter can be pretty cool when used appropriately but I’m at the point where I don’t even bother with either unless its for my job. I don’t do drama. Enough is enough.

  • overseas_honeybee

    *** their whole behind***

  • apple

    The Internet and social media is ruining not just the youth but everything! To privacy to applying for a job to pop culture to safety,a gift and a curse. Without the Internet I couldn’t run a business but also without it I wouldn’t still be stalked by some creep from 4 years ago.

  • Jaywan

    (Continued)… but what are we doing to counter what the teens are seeing? Where is Peacebook? We have to meet the teens where they are. I haven’t seen any sites that encourage the promotion of teen success stories. It’s not enough to tell them what’s right and wrong but we have to show them we have to be what’s right. The people in the communities have to be just as vigorous about promoting things that are going to help our teens thrive as these sites are about doing what will help them thrive.

  • MsQuita

    I totally agree. That is why I monitor what my children watch on tv. I refuse to let them witness that utter foolishness. Children learn and repeat what they see, people should not be surprised to see these young girls and young women acting a donkey when they see it on a daily basis. They see these women on tv with money, fly clothes, going on vacations, etc, and they want that lifestyle. So they correlate acting a fool with living that life. Sad. I really do miss 90′s television.

  • Nightfall

    Here’s the thing with technology, it makes lifes common actions very easy. We’re at a point now where its making things TOO easy. Its too easy to express and feed the negative energies that we have to some degree. Every kid with a cell phone can create videos. I can imagine what vids I would have made in my wilder days. Twitter is turning people in corny catch phrase repeating, # over using poor spelling fools all for the sake of “followers” and thats not just kids but adults too. So imagine all this expressive freedom in the hands of impressionable minds already under the stresses of life? Already hit over the head with a overly sexualized entertainment world, increases in violence and racism. Twitter not only feeds much stupidity but it reflects just as much of what many people are about.

    Its a new day and parents, older siblings and responsible folk a like need to know what to say to balance these stuff off with kids.

  • Priceless34

    No wonder we have this have shows like basketball wives, mobwives, bad girls clubs, and the real housewives that glorify violence. Why are we surprised by any of this. It’s not just teens. I see grown ass adults on FB arguing over nothing.

  • I got sense!

    “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.”

    Can somebody, anybody (author included) explain to me hoe it’s twitters fault that some kids and adults behave foolishly?

    This type of pass the buck ish is disgusting. Each person is responsible for their own actions. Parents are responsible for their kids actions only partially and that decreases as the child approaches 18 yrs old. How it’s twitters fault is beyond me? Did twitter make them write it? Did twitter create the trending topic? Did twitter help those kids get to the other’s house so that they could fight? How is it twitters fault?

  • I got sense!

    No disrespect but these tv shows didnt make anyone commit crimes. I remember there was a case when I was very young where a boy burned his house down copying what Bart Simpson did on tv. There have been murders based on horror movies ( google natural born killers). They parent of the boys who murder people tried to sue the writers, directors, producers everyone. Guess what? Didn’t have a leg to stand on.

    As many negative things there are on social media and any other media there are positive things too. People CHOOSE to imitate and copy the negative stuff. No one made them they wanted to do it. And just like the article yesterday about “cutting black men some slack” I just can’t do it. Anyone who commits an act of violence towards someone else should be punished according to the applicable law. As far as typing words on the Internet if it’s not illegal I don’t see the problem. Everyone can very easily not read and respond. Simple.

  • bk chick

    I honestly think it’s in our nature to do these things….It;s just that social media as become an avenue for us to express our need for attention, whether good or bad. Also kids that age aren’t even physically developed enough to make proper decisions…they act first, then think, so that def. exacerbates the problem. Like someone else said, things will change only when we start seeing major negative consequences.

  • peacelove

    it’s unfortunate that parents can’t be w/their children 24/7.. i know i can’t and i’ll be damned if i accept blame if my child goes out and act like an ass following behind someone or acting out because they have to something to prove to their peers.. most of us are not sit at home mom’s where we are home when they leave for school and home before they get home. my son has a cell phone but it’s not a smartphone and it doesn’t have internet. we have a home computer but he doesn’t even go on there. he prefers his xbox 360 n ps3 to everything else.

    when i see articles about non-sense online and in the newspaper re: teens and their foolishness i show him, have him read it and we discuss it.. he’s his own person and i raise him to the best of my ability but if he goes out and acts a fool, how was that my fault.. there are many children who have proper home training but when they are out the house the are amongst their peers and everything they’ve been taught goes out the window..

    and girls, please.. they got to impress their click and a man.. they are the worst..

  • LaNeshe

    I believe these things were always happening, there just wasn’t the technology to document it. It is a shame that there are places the profit off it though.

  • Priceless34

    I didnt say it makes anyone do anything. I’m saying that is has become acceptable and almost expected to see these types of behaviors. What was once frowned upon is now glorified.

  • Natsuka (Summer Child)

    I agree.

    Twitter isn’t destroying the youth. The youth are destroying themselves.

  • Sparkle

    This is why I think anyone under the age of 18 should not be able to have a social network page. (But then again, how could that be enforced?) Side note: When is someone going to file a lawsuit against WSHH?

  • Crystal

    I wrote about this on my blog back in December. We gotta do better. We need to monitor what is going on in the world wide web or else we are going to lose an entire generation.

  • iQgraphics

    your comment^^ (in its entirety)


  • Nikohl

    There are laws that protect website owners from being sued. It is called the Communications Decency Act.

    Bottom line some parents need to do better. If they were actively monitoring their children, which is their job there would not be so much of this behavior. I’m not a parent but I am a teacher and you would be amazed as to what parents expose their 12 year old children to.

  • Whatever

    This is the fault of the parents. If you buy your child a cellphone that has internet access on it and you don’t monitor their internet usage, then this is the outcome. I personally feel like no one under the age of 16 should have any type of social media page or profile. Also, if you instill the right values then you won’t have the type of child trying to e-thug or walk up to someone’s doorway for a fight.

  • I got sense!

    You can’t watch every child in your class the entire time they are in your class (I’m a teacher too). Just like parent can’t “monitor” their children every second of the day. In order to do that they would need 24 hour electronic monitoring (ankle bracelets).

  • H

    Nope. This is not what Twitter or the Internet was made for, so why should we blame social media? It’s the people using it that are to blame. These girls are to blame, and ultimately it’s the parents. Ugh! Such ignorance never crossed my mind when I was young. I just knew my parents wouldn’t put up with this stuff, and I was one of those people who wanted to be classy. Girls used to want to grow up to be ladies. Now they want to fight like men over stupid crap.The children act this way because the parents act like idiots. All parents are failing at raising children these days.

    For me, I didn’t need the law to scare me straight. I simply thought acting stupid WAS stupid. The criminal justice system needs to change. Put these bad juveniles out there to pick crops and do some real labor. Make them work as janitors at their schools for punishment. They don’t want to go to school and take advantage of a free education and act civilized, let them go work 8 hard hours a day for punishment. That would straighten them up. You shouldn’t have to scare people into acting like decent human beings.

    Parents fail at keeping hip hop out of the house. They fail at keeping them from watching twerk team videos. They fail at raising girls to be ladies. Parents are failing. We shouldn’t blame social media because children don’t need Twitter accounts. They don’t really need to be on the Internet. They don’t really need a computer. Millions of kids have turned out just fine without the internet. Yours won’t die if you take away the computer.

  • Chic Noir

    OMG WSH site is a damn cesspool.

    I just ran through a few pages and why did I come across a fight between two girls acting rachett as hell and some Chris Brown character decides to jump in the fight and knock one of the girls out. What’s really sad is how everybody but esp the other boys reacted. They just thought it was the funniest thing ever. OMG is it really that bad??? I might need to get a gun permit cause these boys are crazy. How in the hell is it funny to see a man knock out a woman.

  • Chic Noir

    OMG, please forgive me for linking this video but now without a doubt I understand what Evia, Khadisha, and those other BWE empowerment bloggers are talking about when they post the dangers of living in “blackistan”. Can you believe this??? 4-5 men jumping one woman.

    Why the hell is wrong with us. That site has so much of this type of garbage too. If the kids aren’t fighting each other they are making some of the trashiest rap videos. Who the hell is worrying about meeting Lucifer in the next life when the SOB lives next door.

    Oh you’ll never here me say F the police although I do have issues with police officers individually. Without the police, it would be very easy for any “blackisstan” USA to become Liberia.

  • Chic Noir

    Man, why do I see so many young children out when these fights occur. I’m talking about 4 and 5 year olds. Why should they be subjected to this sort of violence. That site is depressing, I feel like crying.

  • Chic Noir

    @I got sense

    If you’re a teacher, then I know you took developmental psychology. Heard mentality I got sense is real. You took Sociology so you know all about peer pressure etc… It does not help that shows like Basketball Wives and Bad Girls are on TV telling our young women this is normal behavior.

  • I got sense!

    @ Chic Noir
    And in order for a teen to succumb to peer pressure said person must be the teens peer. Strangers on the tv who are adults are not these teens peers. I don’t know what kinds of discussions are going on in households across America with teens but when I was a child it was taught that a child behave like a child, a young man and a young lady accordingly. There were things that you could not do because you were a child. Example smoking must be 18, drinking must be 21, etc. simply seeing it doesn’t excuse imitating. Not to mention these kids know right from wrong but there are no negative consequences for their behavior. When I was a child there were consequences if nothing more than guilt and shame. One did not want to embarrass themselves or their families. Where are the boundaries placed by parents and community? At the end of the day teens know this is not normal or good behavior but they do it because no one has stopped them or made them suffer negative consequences. It’s very simple. My 1.5 year old niece who can barely speak understands “hot”. How? Because after several attempts to keep her out of my plate of food which was fresh out of the oven she touched it. Now all I have to do is say “hot” and she immediately backs away from it. Now I’m no suggesting all consequences be pain but you get the picture.

  • I got sense!

    The parents should be charged with a misdemeanor for that. It’s not just the black ones either. I’ve seen videos of white girls fighting and bringing their children. It’s really sad.

  • H

    How sickening. It’s a very steep uphill battle. These men will grow up to be murderers, rapists, thieves, or drug dealers probably. They have a very different mentality than the average teenager who does something illegal. No wonder they are building prisons. You should never have to make people act like decent human beings. White people called us savages, and our ancestors worked so hard to overcome the idea that we were wild and inferior. When I see videos like that, it makes me so sad and angry. I can bet it was over something so stupid.

  • art nouveua

    Is it twitters fault?

    I do not know how they are going to stop this.

    As for WSHH, You know that they will not stop. I am surprised their site has not been taken over by Homeland security.

  • srslylady

    You know, how about you point the finger where it belongs? The ‘parents’ who had these kids and didn’t teach them right from wrong. How about that? Instead of trying to hold a company responsible for something that is *clearly* not the fault of said company is beyond asinine. This kind of thinking is dangerous and you are doing a great disservice to your own community with this tripe. I’ve seen your articles elsewhere, I can’t say I’m surprised.

  • bekah

    it’s really not the sites fault. these kids misuse the site. if it weren’t twitter it would just be something else that fuels this behavior.

  • Huggums

    I understand your concerns, but this is a ridiculous article. Twitter, Facebook, and WSHH aren’t going out, knocking on people’s doors and making them act stupid on the Internet. They were whatever they were beforehand and the videos and tweets you see on social media are simply another tool to express and display their already present narcissism, violence, and idiocy. Millions of people use these sites and are the same age as those two girls, but they have enough sense not to film themselves committing violent and/or criminal acts and post them on the Internet. What we’re seeing is merely a symptom or indicator of a much larger problem.

  • Kirsten West Savali

    @I got sense:

    Are you aware of what a conduit is? Are you aware that if you aid and abet a crime you are also held responsible? Are you also aware of what a trending topic is and that it does not mean the topic is true, rather open for discussion?

    If you answered “yes” to all of those questions, then you already know the answer to your initial question and are fully aware that I’m not blaming Twitter for the ignorance but acknowledging that the site is aiding in its proliferation.

    I wrote that parents are ultimately responsible; however, social media in the hands of some children has become dangerous — and sites like WSHH who provide them a platform are despicable. Parent responsibility is in no way lessened by pointing that out.

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