Has it really been a year since I last blogged? I guess so...
So what has dragged me out of hibernation and compelled me to put my thoughts on virtual paper tonight? Fighting. Virtual, cyber, internet bullying and scrapping. Thats what. I have previously waxed lyrical about the importance of social networking here, here, here and here etc.... Yes its important and I still think its the best thing since Messrs Johnston Mooney & O'Brien took a knife to a loaf and packaged it but its not the bee all and end all of your World. Or at least it shouln't be...
Over the last twelve months or so I have tried to pull back a little from spending so much time online. Yes, I still check Facebook at least ten times a day (mainly while I wait for the lights to change shussshhhh) but the days of having to trawl back through every post or check every friends page in case I "missed" something has long gone thankfully. You see, spending all your available time online has a major drawback. You spend less and less time with the people who matter most in your life, your family, your children and your flesh and blood friends. Unfortunately though, its a bit like an addiction isn't it? You think you'll miss out or not see something if you aren't online. While you're facebooking/tweeting/emailing/texting though, what are you missing going on right behind you in your kitchen/living room/playcentre/park/beach? (Yeah with iphones we log on everywhere) Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying don't have a cyber life as most of us know how very isolating and lonely it can be being a SN parent, our online friends are our support network, but just have a look at your usage and how its impacting your life... How many of us have been "busy" when our kids are trying to involve us in something, or look over and thank the "Silver Lining of ASD" that our little one plays happily by themselves so that we can read what someone has posted or offer a reply of support etc. Makes you think eh? The irony hasn't escaped me that my gorgeous daughter is playing with her Moshi Monster cards while I type this either. Yes, I'm guilty. As she doesn't go to sleep til gone midnight though I'm going to write my words down before sleep deprivation removes them once again from my addled mind.
Ok so back to fisticuffs on the internet... What am I talking about? People slagging off children with disabilities, specifically Autism. Yep Autism is the A word. We've had the N word, the R word and other lettered words that have provoked great reactions from the public in the past (and present) but the current one appears to be to insult a person by calling them autistic. We saw in the last few days outrage over 50 Cents tweets in response to a person where he told them "just saw your picture fool, you look autistic". Yep this was in response to being told to release the album or be shot again. I get he was angry and that was the insult he used to reply. Instead of apologising he compounded it by saying "don't want no special ed kids on my timeline follow somebody else". Nice going "Mr Cent". Way to alienate and fuel a generation of ignorant uneducated kids (I'm referring to some of his fans not children on the spectrum by the way) to think that people with Autism or any Special Needs are "lesser". Not cool at all dude. Hey, there is outrage though and gigs are being cancelled and Fiddy will learn the error of his ways through his pocket. Deservedly so. Social networking and people power at its best.
Then you have the Facebook Pages... The hate pages, the rant pages and while they are disgusting at best, we go after them with the same tenacity as we do the likes of a public persona. Where admonishing and boycotting and blogging about the likes of Fiddy will hit him in the pocket, reacting to these hate pages does the exact opposite. It FEEDS them. Do you think that for a split second, some spotty arsed 16 year old lad looking for attention behind the anonymity of a computer screen is taking in anything you write in rebuttal of some vile comment they have posted? I see parent after parent pour their hearts out talking about their beautiful kids trying to change the opinion of the poster. Its not going to work though. You can't educate pork as they say. They posted it to get a reaction and they're getting exactly what they want. You may get one page taken down at a time, but twenty more vile b*stards are rubbing their hands thinking "wow, using autism really gets a response, what page can I create now to p!ss them off and wind things up". In an attempt to stop one page, its creating a snowball effect. In an attempt to protect our kids and change the World they live in, we are actually making it worse. I might not be popular for saying that but its my opinion. My advice is if you come across one of these pages, report it but don't engage with them. Put them on extinction as such. We need to pick our battles not go looking for more to fight. Haven't we enough to be fighting when it comes to services, entitlements etc? Walk away from the Internet Trolls, seriously.
I see the same people online every time I check in. Gearing up to fight the World and "make things better" for our kids. That's noble, but in spending all day fighting invisible people who frankly our kids will never know in real life, it would appear we've lost sight of making the World our children live in, actually live in, better. Seriously, whether you hate me for my opinion or not, I really don't care. I'm speaking up for our kids who want their Mom/Dad/Sister/Brother/Friend to get off the damn computer from time to time and just sit with them and watch tv, or play with them, or just be a physical presence beside them. Don't look back and regret time lost. And yes, I'll probably see you over on Facebook later but right now, I'm going to read books with Munchkin