For millennia, teenagers were included in complex parts of society, with kids of different ages, and some adults around. They could learn, they could teach, the could choose authority figures to imitate.
In a modern school, though, they are isolated for most of their day in a group of 20-30 kids of same age. They can't build a natural hierarchy around experience and abilities, for a wide enough gamut is not available. So they end up building a hierarchy based mostly on aggression and persuasion. It of course ends up pretty toxic.
I am grateful for this gift, and attribute to it much of my present success.
Good coaches will develop kids across the entire range of skill levels, and will consistently give them tasks that they can succeed in (at least in practice). In the US, most little league teams have “must-play” requirements, so both coaches have to play their weakest players optimally.
Then again, that person is probably a bad coach.
For anyone out there looking to give back to their community, learning how to be a good youth sports coach is probably high on the list of value add. It’s not easy, but you can have a positive impact on people that will last a lifetime.
Any significant time commitment would be easier for a kid who didn’t spend all their time in school and had decent financial support.
Lots of stuff out there...
I didn't have access to the other things, or at least I didn't know of these places in the small town I lived in.
The sooner we get rid of this absurd and broken system the better, it has survived long past its useful life.
Direct references would be welcome.
My son isn't involved but as a result she wouldn't even meet with me to discuss his recent report card (a right I thought I had), she is so sick and tired of people ganging up on her.
I've always warned my son, you misuse or otherwise abuse a privilege in the presence of adults and they will strip you of it, a phone is no different. Then the more I tried to apply that to this situation I realized I'm wrong: his peers have already learned to bully and harass outside of school now, the teachers can do nothing about it.
I don't know what to do about this one.
When I was in middle school back in the 90s we all had city-provided Unix accounts for e-mail, homepages etc. The e-mail was read over telnet with Pine. Some student found out they can change the sender address inside the app, proceeded to set it to another kid's email, and sent an insulting e-mail to the science teacher.
Of course the e-mail sender field is just for display purposes; the teacher had no trouble checking the headers and finding the kid behind this.
The medium has changed a bit, but I can imagine teenagers still easily tripping over some technicalities and details.
source: someone in an online page got outraged at a comment of mine and tried to bully me out of the group. in the end i did just leave rather than deal with the issue coz it felt like fighting a hydra
Some accounts start off being anonymous, then they reveal themselves somehow.
Your typical bully is not exactly long on perceiving how they will be seen (or caught). Throw in the perceived invincibility of teenagers, then you just end up with some fantastically traceable abuse.
Then you're just not creative enough.
You can simply "tail" one of the annoying students continuously when in school. An administrator escorting a problematic student "every single minute of the day" for a week or two would ostracize them quite nicely and the other students would take note of the threat.
There are all manner of creative ways to impede a student's "social life" if you are the school authorities. And, given that the single most important thing to a student at that age is their social life, that's a massive hammer.
She could also go postal. Both of those would quickly become matters of public record and end her teaching career.
I would have been so much better off with a cell phone.
Teachers had to ban cellphones in classrooms back then due the teenagers texting or playing mobile games, and there were PSAs about being driven to suicide by cyberbullying. By 2009 you could already obsess over Facebook likes - before then, you could measure your popularity by the number of friends you had versus how many your own friends had - and embarrassing photos could easily end up shared online or circulating among the other students.
It may not have been as extreme as today, but an embarrassing video of yourself could just as easily end up going viral online and leading to social ridicule - see the Star Wars kid.
I was in late elementary school in 2008 (grade 8), and I don't know if any of my classmates had a cell phone. Yes, some people had Facebook, but I think it had a minimum age limit of 15 years (?), and stuff like Instagram did not exist. People still called each other on the telephone.
Fast forward 2–3 years into high school though, and everyone was on Facebook, probably half of my classmates had BlackBerries (BBM was all the rage), and some people had iPhones. A few kids had their own laptops that they brought to school, but schoolwork was entirely paper-based. (Heck, I didn't have home Internet access until after I graduated from high school, but I think I was in the minority there.) Using your phone during class resulted in it being taken away.
Now I look at my youngest siblings, and everything they do is online. They submit homework through Google Classroom while browsing Instagram on the sly (Facebook is for fudder dudders), and their phones are their lives. They don't call people, and txt spk lk this is rly populr again for some reason. And teachers encourage phone use during class for certain things.
After moving to US as adult, one thing I found really challenging is navigating social environments. It is not until I started viewing it through lenses of Hollywood school dramas, some of the social dynamics start to make sense. I am amazed how stark the contrast is between being perceived as "popular" as opposed to a nerd.
I am constantly dismayed at not only the fact that many seem to have an education somewhere at the high school level, but also that they still seem to crave a ton of drama and other similar "schoolyard" socialization habits.
It would be humorous if it weren't for the fact that I live here with them; but that was the choice I made - I deliberately chose to own an older home that cost less than what I could afford, in a decidedly blue-collar neighborhood with no HOA so I could work on my vehicles or do other "loud fabrication activities" that I couldn't in another neighborhood.
Part of me, though, wishes I had taken the plunge and had a home built out in the boonies.
For the most part, my neighbors are nice and thoughtful, but there's a certain segment among them that I wish would just "grow up" already.
I had a tough time in school. I had a teacher tell me how much she didn't like me in 6th grade, and had few friends. The girl with the locker next to me threatened physical violence from time to time, but it seemed she wasn't willing to throw the first punch. We moved in 8th grade, where the new school decided I was lesbian and didn't deserve to have friends. I ate alone most of the year. (They were half right, but I didn't realize at the time).
I had hope this would go away when I got older. I was promised this. Instead what I found was that it was just as bad or worse lest you fit in and just do the "adult" thing. It is now years later and I live in a different country. It took that move to ever feel like I'm accepted by folks in general.
There's probably a "right" answer. I imagine something like, "leaning into" the joke by posting a response, showing you can laugh at yourself. There are PR firms that specialize at this sort of thing.
Some would say it's a shame that middle schoolers need to develop the skills of a modern PR agency. I'd say, that's just what our society is now, and as usual, (most) kids will deal with the changes much better than adults.
The only difference is that now there's actually some data, third parties are more directly involved in facilitating making records of these things.
There still aren't (to my knowledge) the safety monitoring cameras that would actually be an unbiased witness over the school; it's still like a bad daytime only jail rather than a better one with actual security for the inmates. Only now some of them can selectively capture moments in time and share them.
So, yes, the problem is a little worse, but it's also more public. Now we as a society can actually have a conversation about the issues and MAYBE, we'll actually have that conversation and POSSIBLY actually advance a little as a culture.
Technology and social media haven't changed human behavior, but it allows both positive and negative behavior to be amplified multiple times over. And sometimes all it takes is one negative incident to crush an adolescent's self-esteem.
We shouldn't discount the positive that social media and technology bestow, just as we shouldn't discount the negative as well. I don't think the problem is just a little worse - I think, for some cases, it's A LOT worse. And that's the frightening thing. Both the positive and the negative are amplified.
I dealt with a lot of bullying in school. High school was a nightmare. But at least it's over now and I'm hopefully a stronger person for it. But if the kinds of things that the bullies said or did were recorded on social media and amplified...
Yes, this is our society in 2019.
But you should have continued the train of thought here. It is our society because we made it that way; and in the process of doing so, other things that we once made and didn't seem to be useful/ethical/healthy/desirable went away. And in the exact same way, the current things that we carelessly introduced but that seem to be not useful/ethical/healthy/etc. after the fact can be dispensed with.
Not that it's easy or immediate. But "this" can very much go away.
Sure, (most) people survive it.
Not only do they survive it, it leaves it's mark on generations.
> Some would say it's a shame that middle schoolers need to develop the skills of a modern PR agency.
If teachers don't care yes.
Solution: phones no longer not allowed in school. Everybody seems happy.
Sarcasm: because apparently when no one can take video of it, it did not happened or something.
Boy from article in 2008 knew exactly where he stands in hierarchy. Cause he would be sitting alone with no one to talk with every day and optionally beaten like the boy above.
While I don't disagree with this idea at all and think it would definitely make the situation somewhat better, I also think it's naive to think that bullying would go away if kids didn't have cell phones. My (admittedly anecdotal) personal experience of middle school before smartphones and Facebook and the like was that bullying was still a pretty common thing. While taking phones away could stop one specific incident from being the source of repeated bullying, bullies will still find a way to bully even if they aren't able to keep permanent video records of various embarrassing incidents of their targets.
That being said, I think there are additional arguments for not letting kids use their phones during school hours, and I wouldn't see any problem with enacting such a policy.
First and foremost, it is harder to teach responsible use if they are banned.
Secondly, confiscating a phone is seriously detrimental to a poor person that saves up for their kid's phone and can have a detrimental effect on their out-of-school life. I remember my school banning phones back in 1996. Poor kids didn't have them back then, but the few kids that did have them generally used them to call their parents to be picked up after school activities and/or to check in with their parents after school. These same kids suddenly needed money for pay phones as we weren't allowed to use the office phones. I highly doubt schools even have the pay phones any more.
But more importantly, kids still have online presence outside of school and banning phones does nothing to prevent kids from reporting their schooltime bullying after school. It isn't like phones are the root of bullying.
This is so trivially obvious I presume you are merely unaware that this doesn't actually work this way. The second the parent shows up the property must be returned.
There is no legal issue. E.g. this happens to people in the army (and conscription is legal under US law), who are not allowed to have unauthorized communications equipment with them.
Conscription is legal, the military can send you to die taking a hill ergo it is legal for the government to kill people without their consent. See how silly that line of logic was?
Kids don't give up all civil rights by going to school. This has been established.
You are correct they have to return the phone to the parent though, but they can certainly ban phones in the classroom.
Now it’s eighth grade and Mark has become addicted to
making smaller kids afraid. Sure, he needs a lot more
‘victims’ to get the same feeling, but that’s okay.
Now it’s eighth grade and Mark has become addicted to
alcohol. Sure, he needs a lot more
‘drinks’ to get the same feeling, but that’s okay.
Smartphones and social media have transformed students into
creatures craving one thing: content.
Childhood is fleeting. It shouldn’t be spent staring at a screen.
This industry doesn't need to make users happy anymore than the tobacco industry makes its own customers happy - as long as the dopamine is within arm's reach they've got most people hooked so much more than tobacco ever could. But unlike cigarettes, no one can cut open a slice of your social media lungs and show you that your mind is covered in tar. And since no one dies directly of exposure, we're left trying to convey how life could have been better without the second-order effects of using the product. If your lungs don't function with all that tar, you avoid physical activity because 'you don't like exercise' (when you can't breathe anymore). And if your brain has been trained to seek fulfillment from your phone that's because 'you like using your phone more than doing other things' (when you can't think of anything else you like to do anymore).
There is no "bully" moment, there's no confrontation of your perpetrator, it simply feels that everyone is against you. The enemy isn't a single person making you feel bad. It's everyone.
I know I didn't face the threat of that kind of stress at school. Embarrassing moments were allowed to pass in a few days and did become enshrined documentation attached to your identity.
They were, but now we have a device which can massively amplify shame. Worse, evidence of bad, stupid, or shameful behavior is archived forever for later judgement by people in your professional and personal life. This is not mentioned by the article but it should have been. People do dumb and embarrassing things when they are young (childhood up through college), and they used to have the ability to leave their past behind them when they became adults. Now that privilege has been taken away from them and they have to police their behavior and speech or some asshole might post it without their consent on Instagram. I am so glad camera phones were garbage when I was a kid and that social media was in its infancy when I was in college.
HN please fix this.
Heck, let's imagine advances in NLP and video processing where people automatically get labeled as bullies. Being regarded as such could be the new scarlet letter. The Internet doesn't forget.
Live by the sword, die by the sword.
On the bright side, the bully could grow up to be a really amazing person, and and maybe won't be labelled this way his whole life.
How many times in the past 24 hours did you unconsciously check your email, browse Facebook, visit a website, or check some other app?
Do you ever find yourself looking at your phone, and not remember consciously deciding to look at it?
If you're like 90% of smart phone users, this happens to you all the time.
Sure, you can be like the 10% that doesn't fall victim to the "slot machine" psychology of the modern internet. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean the other 90% aren't going to impact your life.
I feel the quality of conversations has vastly decreased, on average, because of the intense level of smart-phone addiction that is so common now. Even if nobody is looking at their phone. ("Attention residue" is a real thing.)
It's a continuum. I used to write letters once. I loved email when it was new ("new" where I lived and amongst my friends). Within a few years, people who once wrote me a few pages of letters would rarely write more than 2-3 lines in email. It's gone downhill from there.
Just as gangs run prisons to effects both bad and good, I wonder if the new norms these young cyborgs (can't live without the technology that's glued to them) don't have a silver lining about them.
Parents have a window into their kids' social circles that they didn't use to have.
The four big bullies who'd corner the skinny kid in the alley and pummel him can instantly be repelled by a 4 ounce piece of plastic. Not repelled, deterred.
This brave new world has terrors aplenty and perhaps it's not a net positive that every teenager comes preinstalled with a battery of apps. But maybe it could be a net positive and we haven't realized it.
I would have rather gotten beat up once or twice as a kid, and learn to handle it, than have constant parental surveillance.
Privacy really is dead.
Back in the eighties when I grew up, the world was much, much less stimulating than it is now. Bullies bullied weaker people, hit on girls and tortured animals just to get their dopamine fixes and to alleviate boredom.
Now all the potential bullies have smartphones full of apps. And the homescreen apps they have on their phones are the result of a decade of competitive evolution -- they are apex attention predators. As a result, their smartphones provide them with more than enough stimulation to keep them occupied all day: porn, dating, gossip, news, games, gambling.
As a result, I haven't been mugged in a decade (knock wood). There were a couple of tries, but I just disregarded them.
I say this is good.
In my country it isn't possible to watch any show on Amazon for free. You have to at the very least pay to be part of a club called Amazon Prime before you can watch shows. Is it different where you are?
“You can watch this for no extra charge as part of your Prime membership” would be clearer.
From the HN guidelines:
"Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith."
Free is a very loaded term, to the point that native speakers argue about it. It is not obvious that the person who commented is a native speaker, and his comment history suggests he is not from the US.
More generally, the school has a big focus on anti-bullying and the kids generally seem much nicer and more together than my memories of middle school.
That's an interesting concept! Here in Ontario, Canada... it's my understanding that teachers have limited ability to take phones away from students... but they don't really want to because it becomes a liability issue. Some of these phones are worth $1000 and if the teacher misplaces it or another student swipes it, the teacher can be on the hook.
If the policy is that the student doesn't get the phone back at all, that changes things significantly.
That policy is commonly called stealing -- though it probably has a more specific label under law.
Schools traditionally have been implement civil-asset forfeiture for small stuff because people rarely kick up a fuss, and the schools can quietly hand things back when they do.
But if they start taking away people's smartphones there will be push-back.
Also, just because kids seem nicer and more together doesn't mean that they don't bully. Appearances can be deceiving. Though there are merits to confiscating phones from kids, we mustn't forget it also has drawbacks. Kids can't document bullying. Just because the phone is gone doesn't mean the bullying ends. It just means that the bullying can happen in secret and silence. We shouldn't forget that many child molestation by teachers and bullying by kids were brought to light because of smartphones. Smartphones are a tool. It can be both bad and good.
Which you finally got over in college because you told your new friends the story and they laughed with you not at you. You became shorts by your own volition or dropped the moniker by the same means.
Edit: I was thinking high school above, but this story happened in elementary school.
Shit - I just remembered a story where I wore jeans for the first time to school on a day where we didn't have to wear our uniform. Previously I'd been sweats only. One of the girls I thought was cute made fun of my fashion sense and I ran out of the room crying. My grandma brought me some sweats and I went back to class.
I'm so glad there wasn't social media at the time. My memory of the event has faded drastically since then. I don't want to watch a video.
I guess this is kind of a counter argument to my own statement. I think the damage done would have been worse had there been video. I mean, this was obviously something that affected me and I consider myself a fairly well adjusted person. I wonder how a video of this I could have watched over and over and over again would have made me feel. It's hard to say.
This story is very heavily straw manned to make a point, but I can believe that social media would amplify my above experience by magnitudes, so it's not unjustified. I just don't believe that Brian would have been quite so lucky back in 2008 either.
When my child's daycare wants to work with the local university to do a behavioral study of toddlers, they ask for parental consent to film interactions. I can decline. Actively preventing disclosure without consent is beneath the major platforms; at best, it's a checkbox at sign up.
What should the age limit be? COPPA says 13 but these platforms oppose, resist, or pay that lip service to that.
> Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, has expressed opposition to COPPA and stated "That will be a fight we take on at some point. My philosophy is that for education you need to start at a really, really young age." 
Maybe that age limit should be raised to 16, and maybe harsh GDPR-style privacy fines should be assessed against platforms that fail to prevent usages that violates COPPA.
A 13 year old could probably drive a car around town safely. Kids are capable of racing karts at high speeds and riding off road on dirt bikes. They are more than physically capable of operating a vehicle.
We don't give them a driver's licenses, because we don't think they responsible enough. If they're not responsible enough to do something as simple as drive a car without crashing, maybe we shouldn't trust them to build vast social networks without parental oversight.
The problem though, so many parents just turn on their own phones, so it would be another box to check on the sign-up form that gets ignored like a EULA.
In order to use a platform you must agree to the conditions of use, which includes indemnifying the platform from harm (Blah blah)... making the parents liable for the child's actions on that platform. Which could also allow suit of and prosecution...
In short making a mountain out of a molehill to try to make everyone better people. Though the real issue is that society wants to view the train-wreck, to have someone worse than the individual so that everyone else can be built up on the body of the scapegoat.
This is already done for adult content and copyright. It should be extended to protecting the privacy of minors.
These platforms already have processes in place to automatically and manually scan for adult content and copyright. Google has image search. This should be extended to protecting the privacy of minors.
"Is a child in this picture?" sounds like a classic computer vision problem.
We have got to stop this "good old days" nonsense. That doesn't exclude or excuse the real problems that social media and always being online can cause, but stop pretending that dad wouldn't have been reading the paper or rushing off to work, or otherwise disengaged from Brian in the morning, his sisters wouldn't have heard from the school grapevine all about him falling down.
How about the kinda weird, quirky kid, who finds that putting videos of himself on Youtube helps him deal with his problems, like ADHD or dyslexia? Maybe without those videos, that kid would never have the confidence to succeed in the classroom.
> Teach your children that boredom is important.
Give me a fucking break! Exactly how does that lesson go down -- I imagine it's pretty similar to abstinence-only education. Some kids will listen, and it will probably screw up their lives anyway.
Why do people think kids are a blank canvas they can paint on? Were you when you were a kid?
Because every single kid in the history of the world hasn't heard that, either from their parents, on TV, from a teacher.
(Also, people from the USA use the words 'sophomore', 'freshman' etc as if they're internationally understood, I have no idea what they mean, although I've heard them many times. Something to do with middle school perhaps.)
In Australia there's just primary school (Kindergarten + years 1-6), then high school (secondary school, years 7-12), then university (tertiary).
Kindergarten is usually for children 5 or 6 years old; 1st grade, 6-7 years old, etc. By 12th (senior) year of high school, kids are usually somewhere between 17-19 years of age.
Kids then were still as bored as they are now. But, instead of being able to use video games and apps to get their dopamine rush, they had to rely on causing trouble (which likely contributed to the increased violence) or risky decisions. Finally, there was no where place to escape to. There were no other social options. Kids today are at least able to socialize, gather, and meet online. For instance, I'm amazed to learn about how my nieces and nephews form large social communities of friends on-line. They have rich social lives, even though some of their closest friends are scattered around the globe.
Maybe my perspective is skewed. But, if you think I'm exaggerating, at least watch a bunch of films from that period. Maybe you'll know what I mean.
I honestly expected to read this post and sympathize. But, instead, as I read the descriptions of the kids of today, I felt ashamed that I actually felt a little jealous.
I'm not discounting new brands of terror, but propensity for cruelty is the constant--the medium of cruelty is the main difference.
Perhaps this could be solved with a series of criminal and civil prosecutions.
However, I can imagine it's close to impossible to execute if you don't know who posted the material or it has been reposted like in the article.
Middle school just kinda sucks. It was easily the worst period of my life, and I don't think that's a rarity in America.
But anyway, I was always the new foreign kid. Some times were good, and some were bad. But stuff didn't follow me from one place to another.
I wonder how that would work out now.
I don’t know what I would have done if reality back then was anything like the second half of the story and not the first. I’m grateful it wasn’t at least.