Monday, November 12, 2012

The X-Factor or the O- Factor

OMG, I admit it; the X Factor is my guilty pleasure.  My teenage daughter and I every Saturday sit down and enjoy this show, the comments, the acts, the acting out, the outrage and the (ahem) singing!  It’s time we get to spend together and with her busy life as a teenager, its time I enjoy with her, even if it is sitting (and shouting) at the tv and comparing the acts, while fighting for our own favourites!  But OMG peoples, where’s the X-factor gone this year.  Poor poor Rylan;  plenty of pzaz, plenty of charisma, not much talent in my opinion, but still week after week as he goes through and survives, greater acts and talents are booted off the show because they are not as popular.  If you dissect the show; those acts going through are ones that get the public vote for some reason; certainly the boy bands are popular because of their looks:  that’s not too bad really because actually Union J can sing and I think will go far (not least because their legion of screaming teenage followers will buy anything they produce in the future).  But there are acts getting through where I can’t spot the talent!  I can’t see the potential, I can’t see the draw at all.  Rylan is one of those. I am sorry to say I don’t get James either!  He ‘pours’ his ‘dark’ heart into every song he sings certainly, but he sounds the same singing every one of them.  Where’s the diversity, where’s the variability, where’s the sunshine, (I think he’s only smiled twice in the last six weeks!!)?  With the exception of Leona Lewis, the show has not produced an international singing sensation as is its remit!  But is that not happens when you leave the voting in the hands of the populous more interested in the ‘talent’ than ‘the talent’. Well, that’s the opinion of this auld fogy anyway.


We are not keeping pace with technology when it comes to bullying

Unless one of your children has been the target of a bully, it is hard to imagine the sense of helplessness and powerlessness you feel as a parent.  Imagine then how that child feels as the bullied party. But bullying has moved on from pushes and taunts in the school yard.  It has moved into the realms of constant and instant communication.  Some children are exposed and powerless in a way as was never the case before because now the bullies don’t even face them; it’s done across cyberspace in a cowardly, disgusting and devious manner.  It makes it easier to bully someone when you don’t have to face them and see the impact of your words or actions.  But as we have seen in the last few weeks, the effect of such bullying can have devastating consequences on some children and their families.  Ask those who have been bullied what the consequences for them have been and the answer will be uniform across them all: fear, shame, hurt, depression, feelings of uselessness, damage to their self-esteem and their confidence and anger at times.  That anger is directed towards those who won’t or can’t help including parents who sometimes have no idea what their child is going through.   Dealing with a schoolyard bully while, not easy, is still easier than dealing with at times the anonymity of cyber comments.  I have had parents tell me that teachers or those in a position of authority have not acted when their children are bullied as the bullying is not so clear-cut; that bullying took the form of a ‘sneaky and insidious manner’.  That failure to act resulted in those children being bullied worse and for longer because the bullies acted with what they saw as impunity.  Our system is wrong when this is the result.  Our system is wrong when a child suffers so badly at the hands of his/her tormentors that the only option they feel left open to them is to take their own lives, or self-harm or act out and turn to other things like drugs or drink!  We have just voted on a child protection policy, but what about those kids we are not protecting as a result of this don’t see, don’t react attitude.  For the most part, boys will sort out their differences by swopping a few thumps; for the most part, boys don’t hold grudges, its girls who are the undisputed queens of that particular practice and it’s disgusting.  I’ve also heard the parents of bullies suggesting that there is no way ‘their child’ would do something like that!  But they do!  While some parents have no idea their child is being bullied, so too most parents will not realise their child IS a bully.  What child would like their parent to know that?  What child would like their parents to see them picking on someone else, displaying such disgusting, shameful and nauseating traits as to make them dislike their own child if just for a while?  I am sure I am not alone in getting so angry and upset and indeed disappointed at a system that does not protect, at parents who can’t imagine and at the perpetrators of the bullying who undertake such unpardonable behaviour under the cloak of ‘ignorance’.  If you bully someone – no matter the level, you damage them; it’s as simple as that.  If you allow that bullying to continue no matter who you are (teacher, parent, friend, or authority figure); in my opinion, you’re just as bad as the bullies themselves?  And it’s about time we all took responsibility for this type of behaviour and stamped it out!



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