YouTube Teen Brawls Makes Me Ask Parents: What's Going On?


YouTube Teen Brawls Makes Me Ask Parents: What's Going On?
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I read a disturbing article in several newspapers, and I am hearing about it from other Psychotherapists, Psychologists and Pediatricians. Our girls are acting out, filming it and putting it up on YouTube. The girls are punching, hitting, cursing, pinching and slapping each other to the ground. The crowd is cheering them on and unfortunately, it's getting a lot of attention.

The health care community understands these girls come from homes where they feel neglected, isolated, abused and the treatment they receive in these brawls is most likely no worse than what they receive at home. According to a probation officer in Beaumont, Texas (Lashea Sowell) parents are being urged to monitor their children’s online postings since these brawls have become an epidemic of sorts. Sowell also went on to say the fights are the girl's way of getting someone to notice and love them; they don’t care if it’s positive or negative.

What are we doing to our girls?

Clothing companies making padded bras for eight year olds. Parent’s buy girls shirts that expose their midriff. And many girls are allowed to address their parents and care givers with abusive language. My questions are:

  • Do parents listen when schools are saying the majority of the classroom time is used to deal with children who haven't been parented?
  • Do parents understand that society is trying to sexualize youth, especially our girls?

We all grew up with “bad TV”, but neither I, nor anyone I know, grew up with shows like MTV’s "Skins". A British writer-producer, Bryan Elsley 49, and his son Jamie Brittain, 25 are the masterminds behind this show. Skins routinely depicts sex as a mechanical activity. As Sabitha Pillai-Friedman, director of the Institute for Sex Therapy notes, the attitude in the show equates sex with skateboarding. The sex is casual and never once addresses the emotional aspects or the consequences of hurting someone, or being hurt through sexual encounters.

Many parents don’t want to talk to their children about sex.  Some aren’t comfortable talking about it and others don't believe they know how.  The result is that kids are left to turn to TV, the media and the Internet to learn. And while our kids are learning, they are not learning about intimacy, bonding or responsibility. Instead it's the conversations with their "virtual friends" who educated them on issues they're not comfortable talking to parents about. And we're talking issues that range from sex, to suicide, to bullying. We have gone from a generation of parents trying to be their child’s friend, to a generation of parents who are unaware of what their children are being exposed to in their own home while parent’s are working, sleeping or taking care of other concerns.

As it stands today, this issue is not going to go away unless parents change the way they are parenting.

Article contributed by

Mary Jo Rapini


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