I am, and always have been that mom. You know her – the one who joins every social media site her daughter belongs to…the one who makes sure she gets to know every single friend her child has… not out of an attempt to smother her (although it could definitely be a side effect), but out of an attempt to protect her from the dangers that abound out there on the big, bad world wide web.
With that in mind, understand that for the most part, neither of my kids give me much to worry about – but I see a lot within the realm of monitoring their activities. My youngest loves one of the most notorious websites on the internet: ask.fm. Googling information about the site will lead you to one grizzly article after another about how teens use the anonymity the site offers to bully each other into suicides.
Since I am that mother, you have probably already figured out that I sit on refresh looking for the first glimmer of that kind of animosity to be directed against one of my kids.
But, young celebrities also frequent the site, including the five boys in One Direction. My fifteen year old is beyond obsessed with those boys and she has cried more than one time if one of them “likes” a picture or answers one of her questions. But, after contemplating what I would have done if ask.fm had existed in 1988 when I was fifteen and Duran Duran had been on it, I grudgingly allowed her to stay on the site.
But this past weekend, the One Direction boys began to befriend some of their fans. One has even been giving surprise phone calls to hopeful teens all over the world. The fans who were singled out became targets for the rest of the ask.fm community. Names were called, mud was slung, and hearts were broken. Jealousy is an ugly motivator.
My kid might argue with my logic, but I am SO THANKFUL those boys didn’t publicly acknowledge her.
So here’s where my newfound fandom comes in — I know, I know, it took a long time to get here: After children began to express hurt, desires to cut themselves and death wishes, the young men of One Direction (with surprising maturity and compassion considering they’re just kids themselves) not only supported the kids who were being attacked — not only condemned that kind of behavior within the confines of their fandom — but created an ask.fm account entitled @weallcare where fans and band members can try to offer a compassionate ear and support system to each other.
At nineteen/twenty/whatever years old, I seriously doubt I’d have put that much thought into what I could do to help others. But, when we see a society of Justin Biebers egging houses and drinking sizzurp (The Biebs was arrested for a DUI this morning, in case you didn’t know), it’s nice to know that there are still decent role models out there. So, this mom’s a fan…tattoos and piercings be damned.
Faith in humanity: restored
One Direction’s Oldest Fan
- if you or someone you know is contemplating (or who you suspect/shows signs of) suicide call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at: 1-800-273-8255 or go to www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
- Social media and teens are a dangerous mix. Educate yourself for the betterment of your child.