If you ever browsed World Star Hip-Hop, you would really think our youth are on the fast track to self-destruction. It is depravity on display, to the point that I’m not so sure some folks don’t act a fool just so they can have their video clips featured on the site. But sometimes, it really captures trending behavior that’s both outrageous and appalling. And these doggone Twitter beefs are probably the most troubling.
Last month, for example, Tashay Edwards, a 19-year-old Ohio girl, was arrested after she brutally assaulted another teen over an argument that started on Twitter. The incident was recorded by Edwards’ friends and posted—where else?—on World Star Hip-Hop. (Which begs the question why she even brought along someone to play camera operator in the first place.) Everybody was sharing that thing. I got it on Facebook and Twitter, and my daughter told me about it later in the evening when she got home. With over 2 million views by the afternoon, the entire ordeal became a trending topic on social media and made the girls instant internet celebrities.
In case you can’t stomach the 30-second beatdown Edwards issues it goes a little something like this: she shows up at the victim’s house, fuming from the Twitter argument and drags, stomps, and rains blows down on the poor girl from her door to the sidewalk. The source of all of the drama was a perceived disrespect on the site. That’s all it takes these days for a group of girls to pull a pop-up at their adversary’s home, break tough, and whoop on them. Again, at their own house.
Long gone are the days when someone would at least call you out into the street or wait for you after school. Now boldness comes to your doorstep, not only confronting the intended target but their parents, too. I doubt some of these children are planning strategically enough to know when moms and dads won’t be home. In some cases—not all, but some—I’m confident in assuming that if a full-grown adult would intervene, they’d be disrespected and possibly assaulted right along with the kid at the heart of the matter. Stranger things have happened.
The Twitterverse is quickly shifting into a bully pulpit, and that’s scary. First of all, it allows other people to hype the situation up and amp the anger tenfold, which sometimes spills over into senseless violence—case in point. But secondly, it robs the argument of an opportunity to be discussed or diffused civilly. It’s just words on a screen, minus facial expressions and intonations and body language. But it’s real life to teens, and with reality TV skirmishes telling them that this is the way to handle people you don’t like or aren’t getting along with, it’s no wonder there’s a new headline every week about some teenager and some relational issue stemming from Twitter. Sheesh.
At least this girl will be brought to justice. And really, she’s 19, which isn’t much of a baby anymore. But it’s scary to think about what’s next when folks start getting arrested over comments made online in 140 characters or less.
Has your kid ever had a problem stemming from something on social media?
Image via JefferyTurner/Flickr