This is a Dilemma? A digital dilemma.
I am reminded of the words of Kunle Soriyan, “Emotions are not meant to lead to actions but reason.”
In regards to the Chrisland saga, many people are acting based on their righteous emotions and not giving room to reason that creates a lasting legacy.
The goal of your input has to be in alignment with a solution and not to worsen a situation. Yes- a situation is worsened when you only blame and complain about a matter without a resolution on why the matter is a burden to you.
We are not gifted with insight to be “in sight” of matters only- we either seat and learn or stand and share. This is dignity. A design solely on blame games is neither found in the former nor the latter. Seeking attention as a medium of contribution does help anyone.
Digital dilemmas like the Chrisland scandal are really tricky- not because the “act” that occurred isn’t clear. That is crystal. But because parents, teachers, and the larger population of the public haven’t been equipped to know how to respond. Even worse, is the fact that many do not know they do not know how to respond.
Adults have lived long enough to tell you that when there is a will, there is always a way. You, therefore, cannot tackle “the way” but “the will”. Chances are that the more conscious a child is about a matter, the easier it would be (in comparison to being unconscious about the matter) to live a consistent character.
We are humans, even the best of us are still working towards progress and perfection, so this is not to say children with values won’t make mistakes. I have values and have made more mistakes than i am proud of. However, i am saying that without values, only restrictions exist. And for over 2000 years, humans have been seeking ways to avoid becoming restricted. Sometimes, it’s not that we have self-control, it is that we don’t have the opportunity. A little freedom and we exhibit what has been passive within us.
A child that has grown up with values understands why he doesn’t need to own a phone or have access to social media for instance (if the parents decide so), while a child without values can’t understand why in the 21st century, a parent won’t allow access to phone or tech- especially since friends have multiple devices. (Kindly note that a child that cannot yet read or write or reason, does not need a device- this helps with age grouping).
Digital dilemmas, like any other dilemma, require critical thinking- We can’t proffer solutions on auto-pilot, it has to come from a place of reason- manual thinking, research, and evidence-based study.
Let me illustrate:
What is your name? Your response to this was on auto-pilot.
Who is the brother of the second first lady of your country? Unlike the first question, this isn’t readily available information and so, the brain cannot function on autopilot. For this, the brain functions manually.
The danger of readily available insights is that we think popular opinion is the truth. In Daniel Kahneman’s book, Thinking, fast and slow, he uses the example of the letter K- “Are there more words with the letter K in the first position or in the third position of a word? There are actually more words with the letter K in the third position of a word than there are letters K in the first position.”
The problem as i am trying to explain here, is an availability bais. Because of the data readily available in our auto-pilot mood, we know more words with the letter K in the beginning and so assume that there must be more words that start with the letter K.
Social media is a great amplifier of the availability bias. Be careful what you preach. Be careful what you receive. Just because something makes sense doesn’t mean it is what a particular situation needs.
A sex scandal involving two minors isn’t something to be left to assumptive knowledge? We can’t auto-pilot our responses, especially when we are not experts in the field. Even as experts (Digital wellness educators, child psychologists, etc), we are trained to consider the peculiarity of each case.
For a solution to be holistic- to help Chrisland and other undocumented schools where these events occur on a daily basis, we have to get to the root cause, or else we cannot truly say that we have made progress. An important question comes to mind- Why do we do it?
- Why did these kids engage in such activities?
- Why do they have social media platforms?
- Why did they decide to share it on social media?
- Why do they post the kinds of content that they do?
- Why do people engage with such content?
- What is the emotional state of these kids currently?
- What is the emotional state of the parents currently?
- What is the emotional state of Chrisland currently
- What dilemma (internal and external) are all the parties involved going through currently?
- What can be done to curb these incidents from reoccurring?
Contextual Case Study:
As adults, why do we watch porn for instance (at any point in our lives)? Here, i do not only refer to “hardcore” point-blank pornographic movies and clips on social media- but “softcore” porn too. Have you watched Game of Thrones? Do you know that there were actual pornstars in the series? You watched the episodes and scenes, I’m sure they make more sense now. How about 50 shades of gray? The wolf of wall street? And all the other seemingly normal movies we watch with heavy (or worse, small sex and violence themes). The problem is because of the storyline, we convince ourselves that it’s just a few moments of erotic passion or small sexual tension that “turn us on” is a worthy price to pay for a great dialogue. Sometimes, even watching them with children. Same with books and audio materials.
If you are a cartoon fan and still watch with your kids, have you noticed how the themes have changed from what we grew up with?
- What is the source of all this?
- To what end is all this?
- At what point did we become so broken or “break”?
In Kristen and Bethany’s book, Sex, Purity, and Longings of a Girl’s Heart, they share how their induction to the knowledge of pornographic images was from a magazine they found as children. For a child, it might be disgusting at the beginning, but it also can be fascinating- the inquisitiveness therein. This then begins a lifelong struggle of fear, shame, and guilt- Sometimes it is passive and finds expression in the adult years, or sometimes, it is active and defines the childhood of said child.
In asking adults, why do we do it? or in using porn as a case study, it isn’t my intention to question the motivation of an adult’s decision but to question if said adult knows the motivation themselves.
If you have watched the documentary, “The Social Dilemma,” one recurring theme is the need for acceptance on social networking sites. Clickbait exists for this reason (Edit the truth in a catchy way to gain traction). In the context of my previous example, adults post the kind of content that they think will increase their social currency. If it means dancing sensually- why not, anything for the likes! If it means posting pictures of things you don’t own as though you own them- why not, anything for the likes!
What we do is a secondary problem (if any problem exists at all). Why we do then is the primary (main issue) problem. Being a sensual person and expressing yourself that way as an adult is different from expressing yourself sensually even though you are not- for the likes, shares, and comments. There is a real identity, and value war going on- and some of us battle daily trying to figure it out on our own.
From what i have read about the Chrisland girls’ social media pages, her content was, for lack of a better term, “inviting.” How else do you explain adults begging to find the video and or people following her page in large numbers and liking her content?
At the point of writing this, my research hasn’t covered searching or watching her videos- and so i speak more to the mindset of the act, and not specifically to the lady. This is what i mean, a lot of policy battles are currently going on TikTok- where a large percentage of its users are young and posting what is trending. Need i say more…
In regards to the Chrisland sex scandal:
- We have to identify all the parties involved.
- Think about everything that happened.
- Think about everyone involved and how hard and challenging this season might be.
- Ask deliberate questions on how the situation can be resolved.
- Ask questions that birth all possible outcomes
- Select the best resolutions in the interest of the children
- Select resolutions in the interest of every other party involved.
- Implement resolutions involving internal and external solution providers as needed.
This is why Kunle Soriyan is right, “Emotions are not meant to lead to actions but reason.”