Quite simply, I believe this comes down to parenting. Do these girls deserve to be punished? Absolutely. Punished severely. But punishing them isn’t really going to do much. Instead, I think parents need to take a more active role in keeping an eye on what their kids are doing online, and have a better sense for what’s going on in their kids’ lives.
Actually, I think it’s more than that. When a child bullies another child so badly that it results in death, that tells me mistakes were made a long time ago. I’m still somewhat baffled that it could occur to a child that behavior such as this is even an option!
My coworker Tanner and I often joke about how our fathers would have reacted if we’d exhibited the kind of disrespectful behavior I see routinely from this generation of young people.
If we would have disrespected our parents in public the way I see it happening at the mall or at the grocery store, we both agree it’d be the LAST time it happened. Frankly, it simply would never have happened.
Respect for other people is required to function well in society. In our home we try and make sure our kids understand that even if you don’t like someone, they’re still worthy of respect and deserve to be treated like you’d treat anyone else. Are they perfect? Despite what I tell myself, no, they’re not perfect. But we’re trying, it’s part of the process of raising good kids.
Something tells me “respect for other people” wasn’t something that was a topic for discussion in the homes of these two bullies. I could be wrong, of course. Maybe their parents spent time trying to teach them how to be good people. But if they’re explanation of the post-suicide gloating is “my daughter’s Facebook was hacked,” I’m doubting I’m wrong about this.