The smear campaign against students born in 2010, via the hashtag # Anti2010, caused the Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer to react. Was there an emergency, according to you?
I found the minister’s message rather educational, Jean-Michel Blanquer reacted with the good tone of a father, he did so because the buzz of the hasthag was enormous and the government is ultra-attentive, rightly so, on the issue of harassment of young people. But this call for benevolence towards 6th grade students also seems terribly naive to me. We are here in a process of hazing which does not date from yesterday. Social networks only amplify it. The “little” 6th has always been the Turkish leader of the “big” 5th. At that age, each year counts as ten years, there is a delirious gap that widens in no time. The sixths are still in the in-between of infancy with the first signs of puberty. For the 5th, who are approaching adolescence, this sends back an unbearable image, reminding them that not long ago, they too were still babies. Social networks, by virtue of their virality and their increasingly young use, represent a huge chamber of echo to this violence which, unfortunately, has always existed in the playgrounds. The teenager wants to kill the image of the child he has recently been.
You send, on this subject, rather a message of appeasement?
For me, there is no need to worry too much about it, nor to worry the parents. I just want to address the 2009 to tell them that yes, we know that it is not easy to grow up. But we are far from much more worrying episodes, such as online challenges, which could have led teenagers to suicide. The withdrawal of # Anti2010 by Tik Tok proves that at least there is some moderation. For me, this is not the real harassment, let’s not exaggerate. If I was told that young people in 2010 are being hit in the playground, then yes, I would be worried. But I do not believe that all 6th grade students in 2010 experience each other as victims, because this kind of mockery is taken up by lots of French 5th grade college students on social networks.
This episode and its virality are revealing of our society. We may be lacking rituals of passage. Otherwise, arriving in 6th and entering college is becoming one.
The hashtag has been shared 40 million times. What lesson do you draw from it?
This episode and its virality are revealing of our society. We may be lacking rituals of passage. Otherwise, arriving in 6th and entering college is becoming one. Parents’ attitude plays a role, too. I am thinking of the “adultification” of young people. Many parents, without realizing it, consider their children to be mini-adults. What increases the contempt of the teenager towards the smallest. This is why the 5ths of 2009 will take themselves for great, when they are not yet! Basically, the term “preteen”, which is used so much today, should not exist. It just doesn’t mean anything.
Psychologist and psychoanalyst, Michaël Stora is the author of ten books. He has just published “(a) social networks, discover the dark side of algorithms”, published by Larousse