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    Posted June 13, 2014 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Guns and children

    A Generation of Followers

    We are so quick to blame laws for our children's outbursts, but is that the root of the issue?  Isn't gun control just a temporary fix to what has become a pandemic?                                                                                                                    Today there is a global forum where a person can post nearly anything.  In an age where social media dominates our communication and exchange of information.  Where simply clicking on a person's profile will tell you how many friends that they have and other revealing information about a person.  Movie stars are glorified for their stays in rehab and DUIs.  Parents are getting into fights at kindergarten graduations and sporting events and other adults open fire ins a crowded area over trivial disputes with others.  How can we then be surprised that some children do not know ho tot resolve their disputes in a non-violent way?                                                                                                          This notion that life is a competition goes far beyond the school setting.  Children's lives are publicized to the world over the Internet, as they explore the waters of adolescence and young adulthood.  Their mistakes, differences, and embarrassments are often immortalizes in pixels and megabytes.  They are in search of acceptance, which often comes in the form of more "likes" and "followers" which advance them in their perceived race in life.  It seems that success can be measured in Twitter and Instagram "followers".                        We live in a global society.  It is said that it takes a village to raise a child.  Well our "village" for our children is expanding quickly.  Social media has countless positive attributes, but with this new technology, comes new global responsibility.We all need to adopt the children of the world and show by example that being unique is not negative.  Demonstrating to them that there are multiple ways to solve a problem that do not involve violence.  Encouraging everyone to form their own opinions about a subject before blindly following someone els and that respectfully agreeing to disagree about those opinions is unequivocally acceptable.  Stop acknowledging and engaging in this idea that life is a competition which can be measured by popularity, fame, money, or celebrity.                                                                                                                                  To ignore that social media, or that guns exist cannot be a solution to this problem.  As parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and simply as Americans we need to take it upon ourselves to change our views of success and the values that we as a society have decided to uphold.  Encourage children by setting an example, getting involved in our communities, becoming educated, and forming opinions based on facts.  Show them that personal success is just that: personal.  It has nothing to do with another person's life, friends, or opinions.                                                                                                            This is not an issue that can be permanently solved by politicians and government agencies.  I agree that a major change needs to happen quickly, and a change in society's values will take time.  But I also believe that we all need to acknowledge our part in this problem and make a resolution for respect of all people and realize that respect and agreement do not need to be synonymous.  We need to raise a generation of leaders, not followers.
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