Think before you post that video

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By Bernadette Lauritzen

Have you seen the most recent, “teachable moment?” If so, have you done anything with it or just let it pass?
Karen Klein, the 68-year-old school bus aide from Greece, New York was bullied by four middle school students — being taunted, poked and made fun of until she cried.
There are so many things that families can discuss about this incident.
The first, of course, is why? Why would any youth torment an elderly person once, let alone until they made someone cry?
The next is about kids posting videos on YouTube. Sometimes the result of posting something ugly can be beneficial to the world and open doors for discussion. Think about it.
Discuss with young people what they should and should not post on YouTube and why. Let them know that being in a video that’s been posted isn’t always their choice.
Someone once posted a video of me discussing a program that I was helping to get funding, but they didn’t ask me.
I didn’t have a choice. If I had, maybe I would have done things differently. Perhaps I would have worn a better outfit. Perhaps I would have scripted out my wording a little better. The point is I didn’t have a choice.
Anyone with a cell phone can take pictures and post things for the world to see. Tell your children to bear that in mind.
There’s an issue with why people want to do that, anyway. There’s a whole sub-culture of youth taking videos of fights and posting them to YouTube. There are people that take video of unfortunate things that happen to others and post them, too.
Again, I ask why? Do people really feel better by making someone look worse, even if they don’t have a direct hand in the bullying or the torture?
I’m not talking about a funniest videos kind of thing, I’m talking about video where bad things are happening to people and they get injured.
Now let’s discuss the really big issue, the apology.
I know we can only go based on what the news reports, but we have heard that three of the four families have apologized.
If that is true, what about the fourth? Can you imagine if you child did something so heinous and you didn’t make them apologize or even apologize yourself?
I know of several local instances where youth have done bad things that resulted in some kind of medical bill or hospital stay. In those cases, there was no real apology and in some cases, the statement was made that it was just “kids being kids.”
One student causes thousands of dollars in bills or alters someone’s life and not even an apology? Wow!
We have to get back to the basics, folks. We have to talk about the tough topics, we have to take responsibility for ourselves and teach our children to do the same.
We have to teach youth that the world doesn’t end because you have to say I’m sorry. We have to be adult enough to know that when our kids screw up, we help them take the responsibility and not worry that a lawsuit could be pending.
If you do wrong, pay the penalty and move on because if we don’t accept the punishment, the crimes could get even worse.

Bernadette Lauritzen is the assets coordinator for Los Alamos. The Juvenile Justice Advisory Board and the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce sponsor Assets In Action.