When Did it Become Okay to be so Mean to One Another?

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I am not what anyone could describe as a social media junkie but like so many my age, I rather like Facebook: you get to reconnect with old friends from childhood. You stay in touch with family members who live far away. You stay connected with old work friends. You share all kinds of jokes, recipes or news. You can even join clubs, tailored specifically to your needs and interests! Like so many people, Facebook became a lifeline for me during the social isolation of the Covid pandemic.

When I was a kid, I aspired to owning my own set of encyclopedias, which seemed to me the height of ‘being rich’. Like almost all my friends, however, I had to go to the library to use an encyclopedia. I didn’t go there for just any old thing: it had to be really important if I was going to bike all the way to the library to find out whatever little piece of knowledge I was seeking.

I will therefore remain amazed – to the end of my days – at how easy it is now, to look something up on the Internet. Want to knit a pair of mittens? Talented people will show you how – step by step – on YouTube. Your doctor told you to lower your cholesterol but didn’t give you any specifics? No problem: you will find reams of reliable medical information and healthy recipes in no time at all. Want to know how tall your favourite celebrity is? Yep, even that silly question can be answered with the click of a button.

I recently joined a local Facebook page that posts the headlines of current events. The news is pretty mundane stuff. Often, I don’t even bother to read any further than the headline. Sometimes I refer to the news link the page manager always incudes in the post. Occasionally, I read the comments.

Always, always a big mistake…

I come from a really nice, rural part of Canada where strangers wave at you as you pass by them in your car. People stop to help you if your car breaks down. Everyone – even teenagers!!!! – speak politely to you. So, I was appalled and saddened by a sudden increase of random meanness and cruelty in the comments section of our little local news page. To what end would people ever speak to one another that way? Would they say these things to one another if they were in the same room? Knowing the folks around these parts, I strongly suspect they would not.

A few weeks ago, I quietly crept away from that page, which is a shame, because it was a good, fast and reliable source of news. The vile comments, the easy anger, the foul language, the cruel taunts, the nasty jabs: well, they hurt my heart (and rather ruined my day).

I understand righteous anger. I have even posted, a time or two, on political events that really upset me. But it is the meanness that takes my breath away. I know we are capable of better. But is it still possible for us to reign in all that nastiness? Or is it like Pandora’s Box, now opened and released on the world; too late to take it all back?

Kids are allowed to have a Facebook account as of age 13. I don’t know if you remember but I sure do: kids that age are impressionable. Kids that age can be wonderfully kind but they can also be incredibly mean.  And they are listening to all of us. There is no way they are unaffected by the cruel comments some grownups post all day, every day.

I have always believed it takes a village to raise a child. That village doesn’t even have to have an awareness that the kids are paying attention, but you can be sure they are paying attention. They hear (or see) every word. And I do wonder: what kind of ‘village’ are kids today growing up in? No parent could shelter them from all the vitriol that is out there.

Remember when mothers washed their kids’ mouths out with soap if they said something vile, or mean, or crude?

Yeah, me neither. I am 60 years old and that parenting fad had already passed by the time I was born.

Well, maybe they were on to something…

Patti Moore Wilson/© wednesdayschildca.wordpress.com


Author: Patti Moore Wilson, wednesdayschild2

I write what I feel. And I rarely know exactly what I feel until I write. I have lived long enough to have known many joys and many sorrows. I have made many mistakes; I have forgiven myself for a few… I have learned that there are lessons in every step of this journey, if we only take the time to pay attention… I hope you will feel free to pick and choose the stories that resonate for you…

16 thoughts on “When Did it Become Okay to be so Mean to One Another?”

  1. Patti you certainly expressed what so many of us feel. I remember when a past president who shall not be named, made rudeness and cruelty a way of speaking . Many of us wondered and still do why that form of communication became acceptable. Sadly I think it will take decades of hard work to bring back civility

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I too remember a not so far past day in which, had we suggested that soon all the libraries of all the world would be at our very fingertips, we would have been called delusionally nonsensical (Our fingertips? Oh, come on)…

    I too see the shadow of the Lie abroad upon the land. Even when we are not being unnecessarily cruel to one another we are lying ~ statistically, six times in every ten minutes of conversation ~ about ourselves, usually to make one another feel bad.

    There’s a movement gaining planetary momentum which holds that we can all jump up out of this together, one exceptionally brilliant sunrise…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your work is very worthwhile.

    You’re so generally hip I’ve assumed you to be connected to this stream, but if not, go to the WP search bar and ask for #ascension or #shift. Our Sun is developing new behaviors. So is Mars. The Earth is spinning faster. Magic is afoot!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re the first person to ever call ME hip 🙂🙂🙂 I would describe myself as a very odd duck in disguise: I ‘pass’ for ‘normal’ but I love all things spiritual and esoteric and I have ALWAYS been drawn to fellow odd ducks. I have always sensed a world behind this world. I feel people and I feel energy: good AND bad. Thanks… from the very bottom of my heart… for ‘seeing’ me…xoxo 🙏


  4. Thank you for sharing!!.. I think the words of the Bellamy Brothers may describe us;
    “he’s an ole hippie, he’s not sure what to do, he don’t fit in with the old and he’s too old for the new, he’s not trying to create a fuss, he’s just trying to adjust”…. 🙂 🙂 🙂
    As for the meanness, change is taking place and I think there are closed minded elements of world’s societies who are trying to deny change and they are using ridicule, etc. to try to silence any opposing thoughts in an effort to prevent change.. in some parts of the world they even resort to conflict…. 🙂
    With folks like you using technology to share thoughts and ideas, in time that meanness and conflict will be overcome and this world will be a better place!.. 🙂

    Hope all is well in your part of world and until we meet again..
    May love and laughter light your days,
    and warm your heart and home.
    May good and faithful friends be yours,
    wherever you may roam.
    May peace and plenty bless your world
    with joy that long endures.
    May all life’s passing seasons
    bring the best to you and yours!
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As always, your comment comes straight from the heart and is received straight into mine, Larry…🙏💕 And oh, that I could play even the smallest part in adding more kindness to the world. I hadn’t thought of it before. Thanks for planting the seed…🙏🙏💕


  5. I love your observation that no matter how we shelter our kids from a lot of social media garbage, social media is part of their “village” now. I’m old enough that I didn’t grow up with it, and it does make me a little sad that my kids’ ties to our actual village of family, friends, and neighbors might not be as strong because of competing social media forces.

    Liked by 1 person

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