We need to talk about the threat of our kids becoming desensitized to livestream violence.
This past Sunday, a man livestreamed a cold-blooded murder he committed against a stranger. It’s been reported that the innocent victim was walking home from an Easter celebration with his family. The killer has since been found, he killed himself. I watched some of the livestream video of the killing — it was chilling. The kind of chilling where I haven’t been able to sleep after seeing that sweet man’s face. I can’t even imagine the grief of the family. Out of respect for their privacy, I am not sharing the video link here.
On March 19, 2017, there was a gang rape of a 15-year-old girl livestreamed on Facebook. Pause right there and reread that. It really happened. Can you imagine the trauma of this young girl and her family? You can click here for an article with additional information.
My prayers go to these victims and their families. I can’t imagine either scenario. Surreal.
Parents. It is difficult for us to process these things as they are livestreamed. Our kids are growing up in an online world where this is becoming normal. We can’t EVER let this be normalized! What can we do as parents?
We must, must TALK to our kids about having their guard up. Livestreamed violence can desensitize our children to the fact that real people with real feelings are involved. (That’s a direct quote from my book where I talk about desensitization as being one of the four main things we need to cover with our kids before implementing social media.) We can’t raise a generation of kids who scroll past a murder without batting an eye. This is a MUST-HAVE conversation with our kids.
You can start this discussion with an open-ended question like this, “Have you heard about or seen any online videos where people are hurting someone else?” (It is already trending so it’s likely your kids have already seen/heard about it or will very soon.)
Here are some talking/teaching points for this conversation:
-It is our own responsibility to protect our minds from violent livestream videos. Teach kids to turn it off. I tell my own children, “Once you get the picture in your head, it’s difficult to get it out.”
-Don’t share violent videos. Instead, report them to the social media platform to be taken down. Be the solution. Have respect for the victims and their privacy.
-There is a soul behind that screen (another quote from my book). These victims are people with families who love them. These are REAL people.
-Violence is never okay. These are crimes punishable by law. This is REAL life being livestreamed on social media (we must stop applying the “social media isn’t real” standard to everything — this statement may apply to things like comparison and jealousy, but it doesn’t fit the same mold when it comes to livestreamed violence.) This IS real life on social media. This man was murdered & taken from his family. This little girl was raped.
-I love what my heads-up mama tells me: “Arm, don’t alarm.” We need to talk to our kids about livestreamed violence because they are already seeing it online or hearing about it from their friends (who saw it online). We must remain calm. We don’t want to create fear, but we do need to educate. We can’t stay silent and let them process it by themselves. Remember, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.” Isaiah 41:10
What else? What would you add to this conversation?