Column: When would you stop recording?

It never fails to astonish me the kinds of things that people will film, then post online.

It never fails to astonish me the kinds of things that people will film these days, then post online.

Almost everyone has a video camera in their hands at all times with the ubiquity of cell phones. But judgment about when and how it’s appropriate to use them seems to be questionable at times.

This week’s fight filmed in the streets around Cowichan Secondary School is a case in point.

Bad enough that kids were circling around the fight shouting encouragement as if it was some kind of sanctioned bout, but the number of kids recording it on their phones for later entertainment was equally troubling.

Talk about just being a bystander. Only one teen had the guts to step in, even after one boy’s head hit the pavement alarmingly hard and he was then swarmed by multiple boys who decided now that he was curled around trying to protect his head they would be heroes for, literally, kicking him when he was down. Don’t get me started on that vile, cowardly behaviour.

I want to ask those kids who stood there filming, when is it time to put down your phone? Would you finally have stopped recording if he’d stopped breathing? Would even that have stopped you from posting it to social media?

And parents, maybe it’s a good idea to talk to your kids about this, about what’s appropriate behaviour with the extremely powerful piece of technology they take for granted every day.

Actually, it’s time for everybody to think about it. It’s not just teens who are guilty of the video craze.

It seems to be far too common for people to see something terrible happening and their first thought isn’t to try to help, or call for help, or go for help, it’s to get out their phone and record.

And it’s not some altruistic desire to have evidence to bring anybody to justice either, in most cases. The teens in Duncan certainly weren’t thinking about turning their footage over the RCMP. It seems to be strictly about enjoyment.

One of the individuals who posted, but didn’t take one of the videos, had a different reason for doing so: worry about youth in the community. More of a “did you know this was happening?” than an “isn’t this awesome? Shoulda been there.” But for most that is not the consideration.

This is an ugly new facet emerging in our society.

At the very least, everybody should be able to articulate where the line is they won’t cross. Do you know what yours is? If you can’t answer that question, keep the phone in your pocket.

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