Submitted by Trina Dawes on 16 December 2019 - 2:18pm
I was browsing through Facebook and then I came across a viral video of two teenagers that had bumped a taxi driver in Birmingham. The taxi driver was recording them. He shouted after the girls "That he should throw them to the floor and keep them detained till the police arrive." My first thought was that is a threat. If someone had said that to me over the sake of £20 I would be scared.
Both of these girls are visibly very young, no more than a size 8 very petite. The responded in a way most teenagers would. To a threat. I am not condoning the actions of these girls to take a taxi without paying. However, does this taxi driver value £20 so much he would risk getting arrested for assault of violating these two recalcitrant troubled girls?
If he felt that he had been robbed (which he effectively has) why did he not call the police? Possibly because they would have said that it was a "civil matter." Every police officer I suspect would deal with the case differently. The taxi driver's response took away any sympathy of a man trying to earn an honest living. Because while watching the video I believed he was going to attack the girls. The police have also advised licensed taxi drivers what steps to follow if these events arise.
Now, what I found to be extremely disturbing were the comments on the videos. Saying these girls need to go back to Iraq, we let them come here to escape war. Eye's rolling. Comments from evidently not the most educated of people. Now, these get even more irksome. Men and women are saying sexual remarks about teenagers (children), one comment read "They look like they'd **** every **** in the midlands. Language very offensive. Could not type it. A second comment then read, "£20?!?! more like £5." The last one was from a woman.
Here is the cause for concern. How do adults look at the most vulnerable people in society and think, whilst looking at them, they are prostitutes? Children are being let down daily by society. What are we teaching them? This language is acceptable. Where did these girls learn this language from? Because their tongues were on fire and could cut like a knife. It bothers me because we all expect teenagers to behave respectfully. However, that respect is not reciprocated.
I thought the individual who has a large platform of follows was using a tactic that a bully would use to name and shame these girls publicly on social media. He was even asking for the area in which they live. Why? Does he want harm to come their way? I believe that to be a possible option. People responded quickly. Loads of people. Giving the details to the teenagers' whereabouts and social media profiles.
I could only imagine that they've been inundated with abusive messages, by the comments. I would not have to guess the content of the abuse. Online bullying has a catastrophic effect on people. Bullying has a massive impact on a young person's self-esteem. I was bullied in school. I know how that affected me and I know what my retaliation to years of bullying and mistreatment was judged as.
The impact it has on children is far greater than I originally thought. With the NSPCC reporting 16,000 children a year miss school due to bullying. A blog by Teen Safe also reported that a staggering "15 percent of surveyed students admit to cyberbullying others. As well as an estimated 13 percent of victimized children experience hurtful comments." What is even more damning about these reports is "72 percent of children report they are cyberbullied because of their looks." I loathe hate speech and hate crime as a whole. Most sound-minded people do it is also reported that "26 percent of victims are chosen due to their race or religion."
I totally understand why the adult posted a video on his Facebook page, using it to hold bullies accountable for their actions. Nevertheless, he has effectively contradicted himself. He has passed comment on their race. Retorting "Go back to Iran." If this isn't slightly prejudiced, I don't know what is. I am not someone who is easily offended. That comment was uncalled for. He has given the video another angle for the online hate writers.
Now the question is what are Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram doing about online bullying? Well, there is an option for these posts to be reported. Although if the account has a huge following, it is less likely to be taken down or challenged.
As a parent myself, I would hate to see these online hurtful comments directed at my children. Furthermore, I hate seeing these comments and hurtful, prejudice, or derogatory speech about an individual should be taken very seriously. Children are weak, fragile, and need looking after. And when they are treated nicely and brought up with respect, I dare say that they are more likely to turn into respectful individuals.