A lesson in social media

I have had a terrible couple of weeks.  Terrible.  It started with basketball drama and ended with a lesson in social media.

On a good note, Lover-Boy started Lifeguard Certification classes at a local university this week.  It seems that there might finally be an end to our argument over getting a job.  He has an interview to lifeguard for swimming lessons for special needs children.  I really couldn’t be more proud, but trust me when I tell you that there is still a bunch of griping about the two weeks of nightly lifeguard classes from 5pm-10pm.  And since the university is not in the best part of town and I insisted on driving him, I get to hear this griping all the way there and back.  Yep, he’s still a teenager.

On Tuesday night, after I returned home from dropping him off, I noticed a gathering of neighbors in my yard.  Hmmmm, that’s strange, I don’t even know those neighbors.  As I got closer, I noticed that Mono-Boy and his friend were sitting on the ground in the middle of the group.  What on earth did they do?  I will kill them.  When I got out of the car, my neighbor joked, “I’ll bet you’re wondering why we’re in your yard.”  My neighbor is a mind-reader?  Wow.  She followed it up with, “Well, you should know that the cops are on their way.”  Oh yes, I will definitely kill them. She must have seen the look of horror on my face because she quickly said, “Your boys did nothing wrong.  They were just playing basketball when two cars pulled up and the kids got out and jumped them.”

It took me a minute to process her words.  My son and his friend were jumped…in my front yard…in broad daylight…in the middle of Suburbia.  She told me that she was pulling weeds in her front yard when the two cars went speeding by her house and caught her attention.  She couldn’t tell how many kids there were.  She started yelling to her husband to call the police when she saw my son’s friend go to the ground.  I looked at the friend and the side of his face was swollen and he was bleeding from his elbow and knee.  Mono-Boy was extremely quiet.  I asked him if he was hurt and he said, “I’m fine.  I just had a coke thrown on me.”

About that time, his friend’s parents (whom I have never met) arrived on the scene.  They were extremely upset, and grew angrier as we waited for the cops to arrive.  I asked the boys if they knew the kids and Mono-Boy said that he only knew one, and when he told me the name, my jaw dropped.  It was a kid that plays on the Varsity soccer team at school.  A kid whose parents I have known for years.  (Small town life)  I played soccer in high school and college with his father.  I was with them on their first date.  I like them.  They are nice people.

I stepped aside and called them to tell them that we had a situation and that the cops were on their way.  I called my ex, who also called them.  (Again, small town)  He called me to say that he was on his way and that they wanted to all get together and work it out.  Yeah, um, I’m not so sure if that’s gonna happen right now.  People over here are really upset.  Please hurry up and get here.

I don’t normally rely on my ex.  It would be foolish.  But if there is a fight or some sort of confrontation involved, HE IS YOUR MAN.  This area is definitely his area.  The man is no stranger to bar fights.  This area, however, is definitely not my area.  As proven by the way that I just kept saying over and over, “I can’t believe this happened.  His parents are such nice people.  It just doesn’t make sense.”

The cops arrived and luckily, one of them was a guy that we have also known forever.  I felt comfortable that Mono-Boy would open up to him.  His friend told the cops what happened, that the cars pulled up and a kid threw a drink on Mono-Boy, so he started yelling to defend him.  Then the kids got out and one of them hit him, and another knocked him down, and the first one kicked him.  Our cop friend said, “Now Mono-Boy, why would someone throw a drink on you?  People don’t just pull up to random houses and throw drinks on people they don’t know.”  Mono-Boy SWORE that he had never seen the kid before and that he was just walking up to the car to say “hi” to the kid he knew.  He said that when it happened, he heard the kid he knew say something like “Wrong kid.”

So our cop friend turned and asked his friend, “Why would they want to throw a drink on you?”  It turns out that there had been a little Twitter fight between the two boys.  A Twitter fight?  Is that a real thing for people who aren’t celebrities?  The cops then talked more to his friend away from us, and then they loaded up and headed to the offending kid’s house.  They left us with blank witness statements and told us that we had 10 days to turn them in.  His friend’s parents told the officers that they were pressing charges, but I declined.  Lucky for me, Mono-Boy wasn’t hurt.  He didn’t even seem bothered by the coke, other than “Oh no, my phone is wet!”

After everyone left, Mono-Boy broke down, though.  Not about the fight, but about what happened afterward.  He told me that when The Ex arrived, he was angry with him because his friend was beaten up and he didn’t have a scratch on him.  He said some really offensive things to him about not jumping in to help his friend.  Mono-Boy said he also said something like, “I want to kick your ass right now just for being a pussy.”

And that, my friends, is why I never rely on my ex.  He later apologized, but still said that he probably would have made a different decision in the situation.  Oh yes, and we all know how great your decision-making skills are.

The next day, I was a nervous wreck when the boys went to school.  I told my boys not to speak about it to anyone.  If someone asks, just shrug and tell them that you don’t want to talk about it.  It seemed like the best thing would be for it all to die down.

The offending kid apologized to Mono-Boy at school and then even apologized to Lover-Boy at soccer practice, even though he wasn’t home at the time of the incident.  He had apologized to my ex the night before at his house and he came over to my house later that night to apologize to me.  The day seemed to go by without incident, until I got a text from his friend’s mom, asking why I was not pressing charges.  His parents felt that I should press assault charges AND trespassing charges.  Something about the wording of their texts made me nervous, so I forwarded them to my bulldog, The Ex.  He called them and said that he understood their position and that they needed to do what they thought was best for THEIR son.  We, however, were going to do what we thought was best for OUR son.

Later that night, Mono-Boy’s friend called him to tell him that his parents were really angry that I was not pressing charges, so they were going to sue me because it happened on my property.  He also said that he was not allowed to come to our house ever again.

I cried.  Not because I was going to be sued (mostly) but because my son was going to lose a friend.  Sure, they had only been friends for a few months and the stuff I had spent most of the night reading on his Twitter was disturbing, but this kid was at my house almost every weekend.  I drove him to the movies and the bowling alley and the indoor soccer field.  I listened to them giggle like school girls while playing x-box.  He seemed like a sweet kid, and I liked him.

Once again, I instructed the boys not to discuss anything at school.  His friend had stayed home and gone to the doctor the day before, but he was making his first appearance at school with his black-and-blue face.  I worried for him.  Not long into the day, I got a text from Lover-Boy:  “People know.”  Oh no, does his face look bad?  Is he upset?  Are people saying things to him?

“No, Mom.  People know that you are going to be sued.  And he is running his mouth about what happened.  He’s about to get his butt kicked again by some other kids because he won’t shut up.”  Nooooooo!!!!  It’s supposed to die down and go away.

Back to Twitter I went.  I’m like a social media stalker.  I couldn’t believe what the kid was tweeting.  I can’t reconcile in my head that those words came from the same sweet kid that spent the night at my house.  One tweet said, “I didn’t lose a fight.  Your mom squirted in my eye and it got infected.”  Yes, I gasped too!  And sure enough, kids were offended by the things he was saying and telling him to essentially shut up or else.  I immediately texted Mono-Boy to ask if I needed to remove him from school so that he could have distance from the situation, specifically third lunch when the butt-kicking was rumored to occur.  He told me not to worry because he didn’t even have third lunch.  He wasn’t worried at all.  Um, hello, did you see the event that happened in our driveway the other day?

(Why am I surprised?  This is the kid that was hit by a car in preschool, and the only thing he learned about running in the parking lot is that you get a spanking when you do it.  YOU GET HIT BY A CAR WHEN YOU RUN IN THE PARKING LOT!!!!)

I’m sick.  I can’t sleep.  I’m trolling Twitter, anxiously awaiting what might happen next.  I’m horrified by this kid’s texts.  I’m horrified that I might not have seen his true colors.  I’m horrified that Mono-Boy might be losing a good friend.  I’m horrified that I might be sued.  I’m horrified that a 16-year-old is facing assault charges.

I’m not sure how it will all turn out, but I can tell you that I have definitely learned a lesson about social media.  I watch Mono-Boy’s Twitter like a hawk.  Seriously, I have become one of those helicopter moms that hovers over every word he tweets.  If I don’t like people that he’s following, I log in and unfollow them on his behalf.  If I don’t like something he’s tweeted because he sounds like an uneducated dumbass, I delete it.  (Seriously, slang these days just sounds stupid.  Fo real, doe.  On my life, it’s not Gucci.)  I’m not sure when my smothering-mothering will stop.  Maybe when this all really does finally die down.

Let’s hope it’s soon, but right now I have to go check Twitter.

Comments

  1. Oh sweet heaven, you’ve scared the bejeebers out of me. I need to do some serious cyber-sleuthing of my own now. I had no idea, seriously no idea, that kids on Twitter could get so out of hand.

    I think you deserve a medal, certainly not a lawsuit. BTW, save that other kid’s tweets for use in defending or deflecting the proposed lawsuit. I doubt his parents know the stupid, offensive things he’s tweeting. ‘Cuz he’s kinda begging to get his butt kicked. I’d like to smack his butt a few times and I’m a tree-hugging California vegetarian!

  2. Yes–save every thing you see written, Tweeted, texted–you need documentation. I would do the same thing–monitor that Twitter account like it was my own!!

    I cannot figure out why your posts aren’t becoming visible on your blog until almost a month later. What’s up with that?

    • The timing of the posts is my fault. Although I have been absent from my blog, I have been composing blogposts. I just didn’t hit the Publish for one reason or another. Sometimes its because I was too sad to share it. Sometimes I was too angry. And sometimes I was just too lazy to add tags and spell check. SO NOW, I am trying to go back and hit publish on one of my posts each day, but I’m keeping the original date so they flow in the timeline of my life. Be prepared, there will be some random posts coming about! Perhaps one day, I can blog about my life now in REAL TIME. So sorry for all of the confusion!

  3. Wow that’s scary. Social media is such a double edged sword. Helpful, yet harmful. It’s so difficult to keep up with not only what our kids are posting/reading, but also to keep up with each new app that comes out.

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