We gave kids power to record and share their lives. Now, we have fights, half-naked selfies.

Today’s smart phone generation has amended the philosophy attributed to Socrates that “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Their viewpoint seems to be: The unrecorded life is not worth living.

And once recorded, the event has to uploaded and shared with the world. That extends to every event in their life, even classroom brawls.

A school fight from Instagram videos on clayco.fights

A school fight from Instagram videos on clayco.fights

The AJC reported a troubling trend this week, one that began years ago but has expanded due to the efficient and instant recording and uploading capabilities of smart phones.

Students in search of social media fame are fighting for the benefit of the camera. And if a more dramatic fight draws a wider audience, some kids are willing to punch up the violence levels.

While the AJC story focuses on school fights, there is another troubling trend: Young girls – and I mean middle school age – vamping for the camera in the same pursuit of social media stardom.

They pose in bikinis and underwear or less in what used to be called “cheesecake” poses for Instagram. They post provocative photos of themselves making out with other girls as apparently such shots draw a lot of likes.

I don’t know if parents are aware of these photos and videos. We’ve given our kids technology with no real sense of how they are using it. Schools pay the price as parents often complain to them when they discover questionable photos or bullying on social media.

I am not sure what schools are supposed to do – we’re the idiots who gave our kids iPhones and don’t monitor what they are doing or posting. And parents insist schools allow iPhones because their children have to be accessible every minute of the day.

When I asked why she can’t crack down on texting in class, a teacher this week told me students are typically responding to texts from parents. “I can’t win that one,” she said.

Here is an excerpt of AJC reporter Tammy Joyner’s great story on this trend:

The student sitting at the front of the class doesn’t know she’s about to be attacked. But others in the room apparently do. As another teenager approaches her from behind, several students in the class whip out their cellphones. They have no intention of dialing for help, however. Their aim is to record the encounter between the two teenage girls so they can upload it to Instagram, YouTube, kik and other sites.

In the recordings, shot from multiple angles, the girls exchange words and, before long, a punch is thrown. A scuffle breaks out, with squeals and laughter from classmates in the background. When a teacher tries to intervene, his glasses are knocked off and he’s pushed aside.

This battle took place two months ago at Lovejoy High School, but similar recordings from all over metro Atlanta — indeed, all over the country — exist. Educators and parents worry that the recordings are not only encouraging fights, but are sometimes making them more brutal as students attempt to gain notoriety on social media. In some areas of the country, pre-planned, off-campus fights are even drawing a large number of spectators, with non-students sometimes taking part.

One Instagram page devoted to Clayton County student brawls — clayco.fights — had nearly 400 fight videos and more than 30,000 followers. It was taken down after the AJC reported on the page Wednesday afternoon. A Henry County page, which sprung up shortly after a similar page was deleted, has more than 3,000 followers. Last year, a distraught Cobb County parent alerted police and school officials to a site called Cobb Hook Session, which featured brawls between young people.

The fight pages are so troubling that some school districts are taking steps to address the problem by monitoring the Internet. If students are caught on tape on school grounds, they could be suspended. If administrators become aware of fights off campus, they try to intervene with the help of teachers, parents, school administrators and counselors. “It’s a big thing among the kids right now,” said Clarence Cox, head of security for Clayton County Public Schools. “We think it’s a status thing.”

The scuffles occur in classrooms, hallways, bathrooms and schoolyards. Some are staged. Many are violent free-for-alls. And, while the popularity of the recordings is on the rise, it’s not a new problem. Fayette police encountered similar online fights eight years ago on myspace. One was a Blood-on-Crip fight — a gang recruitment video — involving nine Fayette County High School students, said Scott Israel, a juvenile detective with the Fayette County Police Department.

Social sites have been pretty good about removing fights when notified, Israel said. But not always. “We sent off a subpoena in December 2007 to myspace and are still waiting on the return,” he said. Most parents are clueless about the online sites that show middle school and high school students brawling.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

88 comments
mensa_dropout
mensa_dropout

"BUT...BUT...BUT, I need to be able to reach my precious Snowflake if something happens!  Like, I might need to ask him what he wants for dinner!  Or to give him the answer to a question on a test."


Teachers use them, too, so I can't cast aspersions to only the kids and their slack parents. 

PJ25
PJ25

There's a reason white people pay so much to live in Cherokee and Forsyth counties and the schools are just one of them. 

BCW1
BCW1

Great comment..."I am not sure what schools are supposed to do, parents gave the students cell phones." As a life long administrator, thank you for saying that. Because schools are being looked at to solve problems that patents should, but are not!!! There are a lot of SOCIAL issues that schools find themselves in a no win situation.

class80olddog
class80olddog

Maureen - can you find out what discipline was handed out to the fighters.  If at least one was not expelled, then we will know why failing schools are failing.

Starik
Starik

@class80olddog One of these sites had 400 videos, so there were at least 800 kids.  That would be a lot of research.  Have a look at worldstarhiphop.com  The business of broadcasting fights may have gained momentum here.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

MEMORIAL DAY


"Freedom is not free. We honor the service of all the men and women who sacrificed all for our country, and we hope that we can continue to strive to live up to the American ideal for which they fought."


John Palmer, T.R.A.G.I.C.

Astropig
Astropig

@MaryElizabethSings


Mary, you inspired me. I'm sure you won't mind me sharing this one.


"Today, Americans from every corner of this land recognize their sacrifice … in formal services like this one … and at cookouts and kitchen tables when someone speaks up or offers a prayer “to remember” and “to give thanks.” 

… For the loved ones of our fallen soldiers, you, more than anyone, know the meaning of “ultimate sacrifice.”   In fact, their sacrifice is in part yours.  You supported them, and the great honor they have earned belongs in part to you.   Know that you have our full support and that our prayers are with you. 

Thank you and may God continue to bless this nation with brave men and women, like those Georgians we are honoring today."


Governor Nathan Deal, May 26,2011


OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Astropig @MaryElizabethSings 


I first began teaching during the Vietnam War, and I can still remember the young man in one class, baby-faced and determined-looking, who used arm-braces to walk because he was missing his left leg. 

Just before I retired, I had a student who was a Guardsman and had been called up to serve in the Afghan War. He told me that his duty would be to collect their soldiers' bodies from the battlefields. In another class, a young student, also a Guardsman suddenly called to serve in a war--the Iraq War this time, suddenly said bitterly in class, "Blood for oil!"

I began teaching during one war and retired during several others, still in the Mideast. More sobering than I can say.

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

Many folks on this thread making it obvious that adults are often no better than these young people when it comes to bullying or being nasty just to gain attention.


Pathetic.

Starik
Starik

Back to the topic... of course, some kids use cell phones for educational purposes, looking up unfamiliar words and researching interesting topics -  a good way to while away the time when the teacher is going over a concept you mastered yesterday.  When I was a kid I watched airplanes out the window or examined the habits of flies taking off and landing on my desk.

Cere
Cere

Ain't it fun?!!


MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Cere 


In the selective cutting and pasting of my words, below, you have deliberately, and with malicious intent, misrepresented my thoughts.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

Oh good grief, the current occupant of the White House walks around with a "selfie stick" and we worry about kids being "self absorbed."


As far as recording fights and posting on media, we should be thankful for the idiots posting incriminating evidence on themselves.  

.

redweather
redweather

@Lee_CPA2 The current occupant of the White House was asked by Buzzfeed to pose with a selfie stick.  You have a real knack for viewing everything in the worst light.  See ya, wouldn't want to be ya,

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Teachers' Pensions, Georgia's Legislators and ALEC  (info from T.R.A.G.I.C. Keep informed.)

****ALEC in Savannah****


"I analyzed SB 152 (the TRS bill) to a model ALEC pension bill. There were parts of 152 that were lifted entirely from the ALEC 'fill-in-the-blank' draft."


This is one reason why we must all become more aware of the political process, start conversations with our legislators, and above all, vote. No matter your political leanings, this is wrong.

...

I congratulate 11 Alive news for working to expose these corporate backed-deals with our legislators."

http://www.11alive.com/…/investigators-legislator…/27695105/

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@OriginalProf 


Well said.  Specifically, it was the Senate and House Education Committees that tabled this TRS bill after massive teacher e-mails and calls.  Some of the House and Senate Education Committee members are also members of ALEC. All ALEC members are Republicans. Later, I will research and let the public know who they are specifically. Please listen to the video in my link above. Let these legislators know you are aware of the connection of SB 152 to the ALEC (corporate) pension mock bill.  These people are hardcore political players who will take away your defined benefit TRS pension plan in a heartbeat, when it loses funds due to 401ks.  That is the corporate plan for everything in our nation.  The management and the peons.  Teachers, trust me, you will become no more than puppets and peons to the CEO's desires if you let ALEC destroy public education and public education pensions for teachers as they are today.  You must fight this. That is not a democratic-republic.

popacorn
popacorn

@OriginalProf @popacorn @MaryElizabethSings You don't see me pissing and moaning constantly about my financial situation. Enough of the self-absorption, ladies. Your rampant materialism is interfering with your enlightenment. 

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@MaryElizabethSings 

Very briefly, for teachers reading this, SB 152 was a legislative attempt to change our retirement plan with TRS for new teachers by making it part-401K and part-TRS--a hybrid. It failed this year in committee because no-one would second the motion, so it was tabled. But watch for it next year,  the untabled walking dead that seeks to eat your brains.

REGAN1966
REGAN1966

When i was young only 2 people had "PAGERS" Doctors and Drug Dealers.....Why the F do kids need cell phones?

DoubleSubject
DoubleSubject

Is it any wonder why we have difficulty recruiting the "best and brightest" to become teachers? This problem is but the tip of the iceberg with our schools and society. And, this problem now extends into our colleges and universities. I certainly don't have an answer and suspect no one else does either.

CSpinks
CSpinks

@DoubleSubject As a 31-year teacher/admin and 44-year educator/advocate in east-central Georgia, I concur with the accuracy of your observations.


Nobody has an answer because there is no answer. There are answers, many of which are already known. One of them is the recruitment and retention of highly able, industrious, committed, courageous teachers and administrators- the WALKERS. Another answer is the retraining or removal of those who do not meet these four criteria- the  TALKERS.

Belinda51
Belinda51

Why does a child in elementary or middle school even NEED a cell phone? All I ever hear is the emergency excuse. Suck it up parents and say no. I think it's because some parents create their own emergencies with poor planning.

thenoticer
thenoticer

So the positive behavior reinforcement of the past 15 years has not worked. Can we go back to actual punishments now? Restitution? Many students lack self-discipline, leading to so many problems and issues. I certainly haven't raised by children with positive rewards alone. We need punishment and rewards to mold students and give them self-respect. Maureen, these entitled, angry, unfocused, can-do-no-wrong people are driving on the same roads as your precious children and other loved ones. I for one don't even feel safe living among these fools. This is a solvable problem. Many of these children can be guided to a better life. Teachers need support, and it is just not a matter of helping "those" people. I like to think that we can still save our society, and sincerely hope we are not past the tipping point of reigning in undesirable behavior. Who is going to hire these losers? Would you? It is past time to get real about student behavior. Have you had enough of this sickening nonsense?

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

Well, if you can get lying legislators to: stop trying to repeal ObamaCare for the umteen millionth time, to stop interfering in people's personal lives, and to stop trying to promote specific religious convictions, maybe they could be enticed to pass a law allowing schools to jam cell phone signals and make any outside communication devices forbidden during school hours?

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@OldPhysicsTeacher 


I agree with part of what you wrote.  However, the problem with your last words in your post above is that emergencies may come up and all it would take would be one emergency, not addressed quickly, to give justifiable hesitation in carrying out your desires.  This is a new age in mass communication and in technological advancement. I believe we are better served by growing with it, and shaping it positively, than by trying to repress/suppress it.

HollyJones
HollyJones

@ScienceTeacher671 @MaryElizabethSings @OldPhysicsTeacher That is exactly what happened during "Snow-mageddon" two years ago.  No cell calls could get through because the towers were jammed.  Cell phones are not necessarily the best option during a large scale emergency.  I'm sure there is some way to improve that, but I don't know what it is, beyond more unsightly towers.

ScienceTeacher671
ScienceTeacher671

@MaryElizabethSings @OldPhysicsTeacher


I've been to school safety conferences at which the officials suggest that there be at least one dedicated land line for emergencies, because of the fear that cell towers would be too jammed with student-parent communications to be useful. 

teacherandmom
teacherandmom

The "selfie" movement continues to grow.  The need to "go viral" is strong.  Even among adults. It is their 5 minutes of fame. The comments that accompany the videos are equally depressing.


I'm sure I'm in the minority but I cringe when I see a parent posting a video of them forcing their child to destroy their X-Box because of failing grades, or stand on the corner with a sign proclaiming they are a bully. While I don't question the need to discipline the child, I question the parent's need to publicize the punishment. 


I see these videos on my Facebook feed and I just say, "Why?"


redweather
redweather

@teacherandmom I fear that people really are as phony and shallow as they are on Seinfeld.  Hard to laugh at those jokers any more.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@redweather @teacherandmom 

Naaah.  As a native of NYC, I can tell you that Seinfeld & Friends are full of "insider" jokes about callous, indifferent, wisecracking New Yorkers. What's so funny is how they go so fast from neurotic worries and concerns to their NY persona.The place is so crowded, with so many street crazies, that NYers have to act like that.

popacorn
popacorn

@MaryElizabethSings

It is really cool that you know people's motivations. This means you can read minds. Except your own. 

Cere
Cere

@MaryElizabethSings @teacherandmom 

"the only reason I am posting a link to my blog is for self-aggrandizement or in order to give my blog publicity"

Let's see.. here are  your recent blog posts ... 

The Heart and The Mind of Egalitarianism  The American people have been manipulated by certain Republican plutocrats to vote against their own interests, and thereby the interests of average Americans.  ... When I came back to the South from the East Village in NYC in 1970, after having spent almost seven years in NYC, I had come to understand that there are really only two classes of people on this earth –

“Jim Crow” Is Not Dead, Yet, in America The citizens of this nation need to galvanize, once again, around a national movement of social justice for poor people in this nation, especially for poor black people who never have fully recovered from the stigma and destructiveness of America’s Jim Crow years.

Slavery, Jim Crow, and Looters I posted the following on Jay Bookman’s blog, April, 30, 2015, and following this post is my explanation

Poem: “Form and Substance”A poem written by me when I was 28 years old, 

Continuous Progress through High School Mary Elizabeth posted, today, the following on  Maureen Downey’s  “Get Schooled” blog at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution regarding the need for a continuous progress instructional/educational model 

Verdict in: Atlanta Public School Educators, “GUILTY”  Mary Elizabeth:  “Are you listening business leaders with your unrealistic educational goals... Jay Bookman: “But speaking generally, prison terms for those convicted in the cheating scandal ought to be measured in months, not in years, and perhaps in the case of low-level teachers, to time served and probation.” Mary Elizabeth Sings: I agree.  Justice with mercy.

...


...Yep. "Self-aggrandizement or in order to give my blog publicity"  ... That pretty much sums it up --- if you're honest with yourself.

popacorn
popacorn

@OriginalProf 

We are so lucky to have you interpret Seinfeld for us. BTW, what is the meaning of the Roadrunner?

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@teacherandmom 


Why?," you have asked of readers.  You have to look no further than many of the posters on this blog to understand this unhealthy need for attention and confirmation by others that is running rampart in our world today.


Here is personal illustration: I post my educational links to my own blog on this educational blog ONLY to inform others regarding the details of effective educational delivery, as any good teacher wants to do.  Yet, again and again, I have read from some posters that the only reason I am posting a link to my blog is for self-aggrandizement or in order to give my blog publicity.  Both of those reasons are entirely wrong.  Yet, I have studied psychology enough to understand that those would be their motivations for doing the same thing so that they cannot conceive that a person would simply want to educate others, without ulterior motives, such as some kind of perverted attention-seeking.


As I stated in my first post on this thread, the reason "why" is because people today (children and adults) do not have enough strength of autonomy nor self-esteem to stand alone without needing the validation of others to confirm who they are.  That is the reason why.  The core of the spirit is not strong. This inner strength has not been developed, especially in today's world. That personal autonomy needs fortification and nurturing. This can be addressed, however, successfully in schools in the ways I have discussed in my first post, below.