If we are going to talk about friendships – looking out for your mates has got to be priority number one.
When you go out to a party, if you get into a fight or fall out with other friends you need to know your mates have got your back.
But there is a line – how far is it ok to go to back your friends…? Should you lie for them…? Should you take the blame for them…? Keep their secrets…? How much should you put up with or how much responsibility should you take for their behaviour…
Where is the line?
This is a really interesting topic to get into with a group of young people – ask them to write the list of rules – what are the friendship values?
How long should you wait to go out with your friends ex…? What about getting off someone your mate fancies…? Or their sister or brother?
Here are some ethical debates to have with your class…What would make you leave
Ethical decisions aside – there have been a number of incidents both nationwide and, more importantly, locally where young people have been abused or sexually assaulted in the presence of their friends and no one stood up and stoped what was happening.
In fact, we had one particular case locally, where a young woman who was drunk was raped whilst her friends watched, laughed and filmed the incident – they thought it was just a bit of fun… Worse still, another young woman who was drunk was being assaulted, her friend rushed to get help and brought back two of her male friends to intervene – instead they joined the line of guys who abuse the victim…
Talk about standing up for your friends – or even another human being!
It is essential we try and instil in young people the notion that they have the duty – the responsibility to stand up for those that need help. That they shouldn’t be part of the crowd that allow things to happen but the crowd that step up and say this isn’t ok.
Unfortunately, one thing that tends to be the common denominator in these cases is alcohol. When young people get drunk, our first instinct is to take a photo of them in a compromising position and post it on social media. It’s only a bit of a laugh – drawing a moustache on their face or a penis on their head… giving them a teddy to cuddle… or pulling their pants down… its only a laugh…
But it is only a laugh if everyone is laughing…
Young people have always drank alcohol and then down stupid things – its a right of passage and something many of us haven’t really taken too seriously. The problem is today – everyone has a camera and can post things on the internet and the flick of a finger… What seems funny in the moment can have drastic consequence the morning after the night before…
Trying to encourage young people to look out for their mates rather than humiliate them is an important lesson. That goes for the boys and the girls and vice-versa.
Understanding consent and having as many different conversations about the nuances involved is essential – the more young people have the opportunity to discuss consent the better. To find out more about consent click here…
To think about these issues more read these pages about the Power of the Group here
- Where’s the line…? What would make you leave
- Activity: Body in the park:
The Body in the Park is a murder mystery I have been running for a number of years. It is a who dunnit – set at a house party. Our poor victim ends up dead and the group needs to discover, how she died, what drugs were involved and ultimately who is responsibly.
It is a fantastic session to unpick the gossiping the takes place not to mention who is responsible or at least will feel like they could have prevented the girl’s death.