Rebecca Black. In most conversations, that name invokes strong opinion and usually some jokes, but there is a larger lesson here. Well, not just one, but I’m only going to focus on one for the sake of this post. If you’re not sure who Rebecca Black is here is the quick story. She is a 13 year old girl whose parents paid around $2000 to Ark Music Factory. This company will write a song for aspiring singers, shoot a video, and promote the song. They have done a great job of that as well. In one month the video has been viewed over 55 million times (to this date) and the song is number 13 on the iTunes charts. So read on past the break to hear my concerns.
The problem lies in the reputation that is being created. There are nearly a million dislikes for the song and the comments for the song on iTunes and YouTube are . . . well not very nice. A concern I have is this girl’s online reputation. All too often, what is said online seems to stick to people, whether it is true or not. In time, Ms. Black will leave the bustling music industry, and whatever her reputation is (right now-it’s not that great) will have to travel with her. When she goes to college, joins a profession, this negative reputation will be there and I am sure that people’s initial opinion of her will be tainted by this phenomena.
This is a huge example, but our kids deal with this all the time. Reputation smearing, bullying, and lies happen on Facebook all the time. While it may not happen to everyone, it does happen all the time. We need to educate our kids how to handle such situations and let them know that these repercussions endure longer than the post and can be very hurtful; whether they are giving or receiving the statements. I saw an interview on Good Morning America with Rebecca Black. While she denies that these statements really hurt, her facial expressions seemed to tell a different story. Of course these things hurt! I mean, she is clearly excited and proud of what she’s made, and when people tear that down, it hurts, plain and simple. I have no idea how anyone that age would handle such flash fame.
Discussing with kids about bullying and how to handle it when it happens is very important. Even if your school isn’t making this a big push it is certainly worth bringing up in class. Rebecca Black has made it a very easy and relevant transition into the topic. Discuss about how to confront people, using school counselors, and how to report people on Facebook.