You Can’t Fix Bullying by Throwing Money at its Victims [OPINION]
The ordeal surrounding Keaton Jones has proven that just about anything can be divisive in 2017 and has reiterated that we, collectively, have no idea how to solve most of our societal problems.
Before I dive too deep into this story, I'll put it out there that I have only been casually following the story of Keaton Jones. I'm going to say as little about him as possible because he's just a kid and shouldn't be at the center of a media frenzy. Unfortunately, that ship has sailed and here we are.
There are a lot of things being said about this situation. Some are saying there was a racial element involved and that this may have been retaliatory bullying. It's also been floated that this is all a ploy by his family to get money -- there was a GoFundMe created which brought in over $50k before the campaign was suspended. However, I'm not going to speculate on those things because I have no idea what's true and they're irrelevant to my point anyway.
In the wake of this video going viral, the internet and celebrities alike immediately began showing a ton of support for Keaton. That's great. We should 100% support victims and oppose bullying across the board. What's not great is people throwing money at a GoFundMe because someone was bullied. I don't want to sound like Alex Jones here, but this kind of response is how you create a victim society.
What does that money do to combat bullying? The answer is nothing. The only thing it does do is help you feel like you did something noble, but in reality, you're throwing money at a trash fire and walking away. It's essentially you saying, "here's a few bucks, clean that mess up for me."
On the other side of it, you'll have kids that are envious of the attention, support, unique opportunities, and unnecessary monetary compensation that Keaton received after posting this video. They'll be thinking, "Wow, that's awesome." But it's not awesome to be a victim and no child should be misled into thinking it is. At best, it muddies their perception of bullying. At worst, it glorifies victimhood. Kids should empathize with and stick up for victims, not aspire to be one.
We should be teaching kids to stand up to bullies together and to report these situations to teachers and parents. I also believe it's our job to help toughen our kids up a bit for less extreme instances of bullying. Some cases obviously call for intervention by adults, but some might only call for teaching your kid a few snappy comebacks or, heaven forbid, how to throw a right hook. Those aren't the most PC solutions, but I guarantee you they're more empowering and beneficial to the child than throwing a 20-spot at them.
That all sounds very old school, but in the real world, no Superman is going to swoop in to save you from every tough situation. Having the mental strength to overcome some base levels of adversity is not only an essential skill in our society, it's essential to human survival. As much as we want to, we can't shield our kids from the ugliness in this world forever, and putting them in emotional bubble wrap for 18-24 years will likely do more harm than good.
Like it or not, these problems all start with us. If we all raise our children to be good humans -- bullying goes away. Some schools and parents are doing a really great job with this, we still have some work to do though. My kids are very much against bullying, which is something we started and their school has done a fantastic job of reinforcing. Judging by the way that they talk about it, I get the sense that most of the kids in their class are collectively opposed to that type of behavior. That instills in me a great sense of hope that this generation can do better than we did, but they'll need our support and guidance to do so. Give them that and save your money.