Cyberbullying is sort of like AIDS, it’s probably not going away, and gays are the most affected by it. In this day and age of nonstop multimedia communication, it’s hard to turn a blind eye on what’s happening on the internet. In recent years, internet bullying has become a growing concern for parents around the world, as making fun of people online has passed baseball as America’s past time. Some people do take it too far, and there are some circumstances where it becomes not so chill. Whenever I think I might be crossing the line, I try my best to take Michael Scott’s advice: “You don’t call retarded people retards, it’s bad taste. You call your friends retards, when they’re acting retarded.” That in my mind, is the the gold standard when it comes to internet behavior.
As someone who considers himself an internet pioneer (late stage), I get the question all the time, “Tim, how do we stop cyberbullying”. And for as long as I can remember, I never had an answer. I was stumped like a pirate, or a shark attack victim, or a shark victim who happens to be a pirate, whoever you identify with more. Whatever. The point is, for the first time in my life, I didn’t know exactly what to do. Until today.
I was perusing an article this morning, and came upon quite a befuddling statistic. The article, which was about global education (because I care about the kids), stated the literacy rate in South Sudan was only 27%. At first, I was shocked, and a bit saddened. How can I live my life happily, knowing that I’ve been reading at a PhD level since I was 5, while these grown ass men in Africa have never heard of a silent E? I was horrified. I had internal debates about public education, the socioeconomic implications and factors of low literacy, and whether or not is was too early for me to eat my chicken quesadillas I (my mom) packed for lunch. My mind was doing donuts.
Finally, I was able to accept the reality of the situation, and think about it in my usual logical, sensible, and somewhat genius fashion. I then came upon an outcome of this issue that somehow no one has thought of. A silver lining if you will. Due to the fact that these kids cannot read, they will never experience cyberbulling. And there, my readers, lies the perfect solution. If you don’t want your kids to experience bullying on the internet, don’t teach them how to read. Now, with this information now public and available, does this mean that any parent who teaches their child how to read is setting them up for life long bullying that will ultimately end in suicide. It’s hard for me to say, but probably.
So shout out to South Sudan for stepping up, and finally finding a cure for cyberbullying. Who would have thought that Sub-Sahara Africa would be at the forefront of internet technology? Well, I mean I did, but whatever. An emerging market indeed. Watch out, Silicon Valley, Africa is right behind you (once they figure out the whole reading thing).
Until then, I’ll still have to deal with people calling me a faggot. Whatever, I can’t see you from this side of the blog. Buy a t shirt. Thanks for the ad revenue.