MS: And what are the duties, obligations and responsibilities that parents have?
Jacquie: Now this is my concern that I want to address. Parents by example and direct communication should civilize their children. By that, I mean to emphasize manners, specifically, treat others the way you want to be treated by actions and words. I interviewed Pop Fly, the Aqua Sox mascot, and he told me that frequently he was hit, spit upon and kicked by children while their parents stood aside and laughed. That example highlights what I find most disturbing about the misbehavior of the child and parents. What is funny about violence and disrespect? If the child thinks it is all right to punch a character, why isn’t the parent explaining that a real person is behind the puppet? One or two instances would be shameful, but Pop Fly stressed that this misbehavior occurred all the time. Parents are ones who should lead by example---yes, KNOW better---giving a child a compass to navigate through the uncertainties of peer ways. You may not post pictures or text that is harmful to another person, no matter what every one else does because it is not acceptable behavior. Dare I say it? It is NOT nice. I as a parent have to provide moral guidelines to make this world a better place for my children and my family and my community and myself. I do not want a disgusting picture of me shared over the phone or on the computer---and I promise you I will never embarrass you that way either.
MS: I guess the real problem is that teenagers NEVER KNOW what a friend, pal or peer is going to do with whatever message they send to another. Whose job is it to alert them that this is a permanent record and that sending a message that so and so may be pregnant, or has a venereal disease could be disastrous?
Jacquie: First of all, parents need to establish rules beyond the time and text limitations restricted by the payment plan. Bullying is an experience that we rarely talk about. It is sometimes hard to bring up the subject of the big elephant in the living room that we walk around, but one of the biggest concerns today is cyberbullying and the consequences of posting inappropriate text, and pictures. We no longer can hide from the bullies, as they can get us 24/7 by cell or computer. I am adamant about pointing out that these images do not go away with the delete button, but can stay in cyberspace forever. Think about that before you send off a snap of yourself compromised---the college recruiter, the employer, THE right person you want to spend a long time with, maybe forever---do you want that image to surface and make a statement about who you are?
Secondly, the abuse of privacy and the right to be left alone is a moral precept that should be emphasized in the home and school. It is not only rude but morally reprehensible to harass someone because you might not like that person for who he/she is, his/her lifestyle, dress or sexual orientation. Stop and think, you may fall into someone’s category and then will you remember that it is only fair if you did it to someone that it is done to you?
MS: Let’s talk about sexting. Some see this as stupidity, some see it as alluring, but don’t girls understand that taking pictures of their breasts or clitorises and sending them to someone else—just may send the wrong message to others? And that their pictures can go around the world? Jacquie: Let me emphasize that these pictures and texts can come back to haunt you. The real problem as I see it is objectifying yourself literally by sending a picture of your body. The message is one of disrespect; of oneself and others. Once that image is sent, it becomes fair game to be displayed to anyone, anywhere. You are not there, but a statement about you is clearly sent, and it is not a pretty picture.
MS: I know some states have outlawed driving and texting. How do we prevent deaths and give my EMT friends and our wonderful policemen a break and get kids to understand, driving while texting is not acceptable, appropriate, or reasonable?
Jacquie: Parents must set the example and not text or talk on the cell phone while driving. Having a cell phone should be a privilege given with the understanding that the owner is responsible for obeying reasonable, sane, safe laws, or the cell phone privilege is revoked. Think about how awful you would feel if someone, a family member, a friend or a neighbor, was injured or died, because you were distracted by the cell phone or trying to text and drive. This is a consequence of irresponsible behavior that will be with you the rest of your life.
MS: Okay, now that I have vented enough for today, tell us about your book and why you wrote it.
Jacquie: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi. This quote by Gandhi about sums up why I write.
I am writing a series of books dealing with issues that young people face today. I hope to make parents, kids, teachers, everyone aware of bullying, cbyer, physical, emotional is very real and needs to be addressed. Everyone is hurt by bullying: the victim of the bully, the bully, and the bystander.
WE can make our children safe by teaching social skills by example. I hope I can impart some basic values that I think are important for kids to know: the three r’s: