Tuesday 13 February 2018
I’m fascinated, at the moment, by a particular TV channel, a couple of TV shows, and a reaction to a recent tragedy that’s garnered national attention. The tragedy I’m referring to is the suicide of a 14-year-old girl who was the face of a national brand. Unable to withstand the torment of relentless cyberbullying, young Dolly made the decision that it was better to be dead than to have to endure the vicious barbs of her tormentors.
Now, well may you ask, how does that relate to my fascination with the TV channel and shows? I’m so glad you asked. For ease of understanding, let us refer to it as Channel A from here on, and the TV shows as B (a breakfast show) and C (a prime time reality based competition). Channel A’s high rating breakfast show, B, adopted the issue of cyberbullying as its issue du jour. The anchors of B have pushed politicians to give answers about cyberbullying and related laws, have raised awareness amongst its audience of the reach of online behaviour, and are pushing for schools to teach a cyber safety syllabus. *Insert my snippy, snarky soapbox comment here: Because, y’know, teachers don’t already have enough to contend with regarding curriculum and syllabus content. Hell, teaching another specific content area would be a breeze. Don’t even get me started on the fact that maybe it might be helpful if parents educated themselves and their kids about technology and online behaviour. Sorry, I’m ranting. I’ll move back on track now.*
B is hammering the need for a syllabus for teaching online behaviour. Really, really hammering it. The two anchors of the show are all but demanding the federal and state Education Ministers create that content right now. Demanding it. They’re outraged that a 14 year old could be pushed to believe that taking her own life is a far better thing to do than face down those tormenting her. And that’s how it should be. We should be outraged that a 14 year old has taken her life because of the behaviour of some people online. That sort of torment is inescapable. And we should be outraged that it’s happening. Yes, I completely agree. And no, I’m not being facetious. A child ending his or her own life because of online or offline ar$eholes is beyond unacceptable. It is a travesty, a tragedy, heinous, inexcusable, and our laws need to catch up to the technology that we now deal with on a daily basis.
What I find nauseating about B spewing this outrage is the fact that Channel A, on one hand, finds this behaviour outrageous and unacceptable, but on the other hand, broadcasts another show, C, which openly supports and condones bullying behaviour. I’ll just sit here whilst you get your head around that. B finds bullying behaviour unacceptable, and show C condones it. Both on Channel A. And show B regularly cross-promotes show C, which to my mind, then means that show B is also condoning the behaviour that they deemed inexcusable just that morning. You can’t have it both ways. You simply cannot say online bullying behaviour is unacceptable, but in the next breath say you’re looking forward to the sh!t storm that’s going to happen that night on the latest episode of C. You can’t do it. And if you try, you’re a bloody hypocrite.
Channel 7 A, get your act together and stop sending mixed messages through Sunrise show B and My Kitchen Rules show C. What you’re doing, the message you’re sending, is f**ked. And yes, I’m aware that my argument just took a dive because I used profanity to get my feelings across, but I’m really angry about this and f**ked is a word that works perfectly in many situations and with many emotions. It’s time that those who work within Channel A and think shows like C and the nasty behaviour it condones from contestants are held accountable as part of the mechanism that breeds inexcusable behaviour. It’s a f**king cooking show, not a nasty-ar$ed personality contest. And show B . . . choose a side to stand on: either be outraged by that behaviour, or condone it, but for the love of all that’s holy, stop pretending to be outraged whilst you’re greedily absorbing similar behaviour from contestants on your channel’s reality show.
Okay, I’m done now.