Can kindness change the Internet?

August 24, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Killing begets more killing. As long as it is the only solution offered, the killing can never end. Simple. True.

You will not get armament manufacturers and dealers – and their/our governments – to agree, but ask the question: how has the killing done so far?

Sure, the massive destruction and ongoing damage of Hiroshima brought the Second World War to an uncertain end, but the cost of that is incalculable.

What has not happened is world peace, because killing can not achieve that. There are those happy optimists who will declare that more of the world is at peace than at war. Yet, increasingly, there are lunatics, prepared to kill as many people at one blow as possible.

The likes of Isis, and so many others, are still very active and they will go anywhere in the world to inflict their punishment on a common populace. There is no end to the fighting in some of Asia and the Middle East – hundreds of thousands fleeing until the rest of the world is also exhausted and the answers have melted in despair.

Let me clear the air: lots of nice, kind, thoughtful, cute, funny things happen on-line. People are reunited with old friends; families keep in touch and re-connect after years of separation; there is light and joy and happiness on line. I realize and applaud that.

Still, the fabled Dark Web exists; websites entice disenfranchised youth with friendship, information about the “Establishment” villains (much of which is true), corruption; they feed them with convincing outright lies, like all outright lies; encourage them to tell their own tales about their lives, the people who hate or have contempt for them, their own parents. People who don’t “get” them.

The rot sets in; young people are persuaded to violence or hideous servitude. It happens a lot. Young men to violence; young women to the sex trade or being trafficked. The influence online is insidious, patient, the corruption comes unrecognized. The method is to “creep” the emails and online conversations of potentially susceptible people; where they forage and explore for acceptance, even, something like love.

So, what is a disenfranchised youth or person? The son, whose parents kicked him out because he was always fighting with his father. The lazy daughter who never keeps a curfew and hangs out with guys her parents don’t like. The lippy teenager, so often in trouble that his school expels him – for a set length of time or, failing to work with him, permanently.

We expel our own children from their homes and schools because we don’t connect in a meaningful way with our own flesh and blood. In those moments, we reject every vestige of responsibility that agreeing to parenthood or as an educator ever put upon us.

Hear me: the previous generation moulds who follows.

If we are war mongers; if we condemn without understanding the new pressures and social changes once coming every generation but, now, every minute – so that, actually, no one has a grip on it, only on bits of it – if we refuse to try to help our young deal with that but stand back in distain, what will be the result of our indifference and punitive attitudes?

In recent news, parents and friends are shocked at the unbelievable violence unleashed by their son, friend – cousin, whatever – who took a gun and killed as many people as he could in a short burst of urgent violence.

Shame on them! In every case, there were signs –  there were emails and surreptitious purchases, conversations, texts – they were there if anyone had bothered to believe in the danger, in the disorder. Denial, laziness, stupidity. No excuses. They recognized them in retrospect. So what? Bleed with your regret as others bled and died.

When will we attempt to turn that tide? Stop. Think it through and see the light. What we are doing isn’t working.

If we go where our children are going or, if not us, then those who can follow those dark trails. Not like the police who are only interested in the “bad guys” – someone has to start caring about the sheep who are being led: our beloved children. Who is able to invade those dark sites and oppose them with viable contrary websites that actually offer understanding? Who can talk to parents and school administrators to tell them to use kindness and love to bring students back unconditionally with art, music and genuine friendship,.

I look at parents with their tiny babies and it makes me weep with their tenderness. Where do we lose it – when our little child can talk and watch tv where the little children are rude and everyone laughs? Or when we’re in a hurry and the little one nags to want something?

Is that when the baby tenderness starts to fade and we begin to forget?

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