Thursday, August 25, 2011

Caution: Cyber Space Ahead

Ching chong, ling long, ting tong......Oh no she dinn’t....please tell me that girl didn't just do that? Are you kidding me?! 
Now, before I get on my little soap-box, let me explain to you what has gotten the Asian-American community and other minority groups up in arms. 
Two weeks ago, a UCLA student, Alexander Wallace, decided to post a video of herself as she rants about the Asians in her school. Now, let me go on the record and say that I agree with Ms. Wallace’s original intent, which was probably – “Don’t talk on the phone in the library.” However, it was the manner in which this message was delivered that got people in an uproar (and now it’s in cyberspace, taking on a life of its own).
In a fairly short amount of time, Wallace was able to demonstrate the difficulties in mastering the Chinese language (hence, my intro), she validated the fact that all Asians are the same and that geography doesn’t matter (FYI – the tsunami occurred in Japan not China – two totally different countries…they don’t speak the same language...they don’t even like each other) and she has successfully shown the world that the United States is still struggling with issues of race.
Have you seen this video yet? Well, Wallace has actually removed her original post, but as we all know, once it’s out in the cyberspace, there is no getting it back. 
Now, after much contemplation and discussion with my lawyers, I have decided to keep my fingers at bay in regards to my opinions on what Ms. Wallace was thinking…nope, I’m not going to rant on and on about this ignorant girl, but as an American of Asian descent, let me just say…what the *bleep* was she thinking? 
Ok, ok….calm down…breathe….just breathe…ohm-mmmmmm …I’m going to my happy place now…
Forget it, yoga is not gonna to help. UGH! Isn’t it funny that even though I am now an adult and a mother of three, I can still be affected by something so idiotic?!  Am I being silly? Possibly.
Well, after this “polite, American girl” posted her little rant, her vlog went viral and people went ballistic. I’m sure she had no idea how offensive her remarks were or how significant the repercussions would be and how, by posting a short little video, her life would change.
A couple of days after the post, the Chancellor of UCLA made a public statement voicing his disappointment, Wallace soon issued an apology and has since left the school and returned home. 
I guess she’s learned her lesson. 
But what was her lesson? What can we all take away from this, whether we’re Asian, White, Black, Latino or Alien (a nod to Katy Perry's new song – which I can’t stop singing)?   
Well, there is a lot that we can learn from this whole situation and a lot that we can share with our children, but the one issue that I wanted my kids to learn, besides the fact that racism is a huge No-No, is that once you put something out on the internet, you can never get it back.
Here, in Franklin Lakes, we’ve got young kids who have smartphones, iPads, laptops up the wahzoo...they have continuous access to the internet, which means that they can post pictures, type entries, upload videos to their Facebook accounts (yes….kids have FB accounts) or any other social network site at anytime. 
This also means that we, as parents, need to constantly remind our sweet little angels (this term is used loosely) that they need to be careful and understand that there are consequences to things that they do.
As a parent, I do try to explain to my oldest, who’s currently in FAMS, that with all this amazing technology come responsibilities. She needs to know that everything she types in an email, words that she uses in a text, photos that she takes and videos that she makes with her friends need to be done thoughtfully, because in the end, she will be held accountable for her action if they have been used to cause pain to others or even to herself (believe me, if she can’t get a job in the future because she posted a picture of herself partying it up, I’m not gonna be a very happy mama….to say the least….)
What advice do you have on how to teach kids this very important lesson? How do we make them understand that they are accountable when it comes to things they post and put on the internet, and that sometimes the result of their actions can be devastating?  
Before you hit that send button, or click on the share link or post a comment….stop and think, because once it’s out there you can never get it back.
*But of course, if you’re reading this article, you better click on the share button right away and post a nice comment or I will call in the Triad to take care of business.
*This is an article I wrote for an online news site

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments will be posted after moderation.

Leave me a note! I love reading your thoughts.