The story of the 11-year-old boy who killed himself when his 13-year-old amour posted on Facebook that she was offing herself has been afloat in the news for the past several days. We’re told authorities are pressing charges against the girl, who somehow was supposed to have known that her childish joke would drive the kid to suicide.
Honest to God. They’re children, for cryin’ out loud. Where were their parents? And why were the kids on Facebook at all? More to the point, why were they pretending to be a romantic item?
Whoever’s at fault here, it’s not a barely adolescent girl.
Even though American children experience puberty at a much earlier age than used to be normal (one of my friends said her daughter got her first period at age nine!), they’re still children.
An 11-year-old is not psychologically prepared to deal with the ups and downs of romantic engagement. Neither, IMHO, is a 13-year-old. Yet these two kids were said to be “boyfriend” and “girlfriend.”
Where were their parents? What kind of adults let two young kids decide they’re in a romantic relationship? And for that matter, what kind of adults allow their children to surf Facebook (and presumably the rest of the Internet) unsupervised?
The business of letting little kids decide that they’re “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” — as opposed to playmates — is not new. When I was in the fifth and sixth grades, I had classmates who dubbed themselves “boyfriend and girlfriend.” Amazingly, their parents thought this was cute and actually encouraged it. The kids went on little dates and exchanged tokens of their undying love.
It was stupid then. And it’s probably even stupider today, with the superheated atmosphere stoked by social media and the accelerated physical maturation created by the hormone-like and pharmaceutical hormones that contaminate our food and water. The fact that a nine-year-old has her period or that a six-year-old can get it up does not mean either of them is capable of the complex grasp of human relationships demanded by romance.
The whole thing just makes me want to bite someone — especially the mother who’s trying to blame a 13-year-old child for her own irresponsibility and the small-town prosecutors who are charging the 13-year-old over a stupid but noncriminal act whose consequences she could not possibly have predicted.
Failing to keep tabs on what your kids are up to in the social media should be regarded as child neglect. Letting your 11-year-old “date” should be classed as a type of child abuse. The consequences, as we see, can be dire.
What say you? Am I crazy? Or are the adults involved in this sorrowful fiasco the real culprits?
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