FoxNews.com today has a story about six middle school students in Nevada who used Facebook to promote “Attack a Teacher Day.”
The girls – one who is 13, five who are 12 – allegedly invited 100 friends from two separate middle schools in Carson City, NV to participate in the “event” between 7 AM and 9 AM today. Fourteen friends accepted the invitation, leaving comments that included the names of teachers the planned to attack.
Alerted by a parent, the girls were brought to the principal’s office and then arrested on charges of coveying a threat.
Here’s the thing: these are honor students, good kids with no history of making trouble. They told officials they were just joking around, but Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong told FoxNews.com that some of the responses to the girls’ Facebook event were very serious. He says:
“They just clearly don’t understand the lethal potential of something like this going out of control. And that’s to assume the kids were sincere in that they thought it was funny. But the actual threats posted were not funny at all.”
It’s a scary thing, isn’t it? When supposedly good kids find it funny to threaten their teachers with physical attacks?
It’s a symptom, though, of what happens when we become disconnected from each other in a growing technological society. Kids – and adults – spend so much time interacting with each other via text messaging and social networking sites that they forget that they’re talking with other humans. If the method of creating this “event” meant creating posters and hanging them in the cafeteria, I’ll go out on a limb and guess that these girls would have been horrified at the thought – of being caught, of actually interacting with their fellow students who might take it seriously, of having to look at the teachers they planned to attack.
So here’s today’s food for thought: Technology has made it possible for us to be anonymous online – so why is it that we use that anonymity to be mean and evil, instead of kind and loving? Why is cyber bullying on the rise – why not random acts of anonymous kindness? And most importantly, can we even really love our neighbors the way Jesus taught when we live in a virtual society?