The exposure of a vile online cult at one of Sydney’s most elite schools is an example of boys behaving badly. Knox Grammar which costs parents $35000 a year is now under investigation for its chat room culture.
The school is an all boys private, Uniting Church based school for boarding and day students, located in a leafy exclusive suburb of the Upper North Shore of Sydney. It is the richest school in the state of NSW with over $100 million revenue from its 2900 students.
Collective Culture leads to Boys Behaving Badly
But unfortunately now the school is known for its ‘rich’ online language, not totally in line with the upper-class boys enrolled. The closed chat room group called Gang Gang uses the aptly named app, Discord to showcase hatred of such a graphic nature that most can’t be shared not even in the sensation grabbing media. It is a case of boys behaving badly, the equivalent of mean girls in all girl schools.
Boys using the site, gang up against other boys and promote pedophilia, rape, antisemitic and racist attitudes. The chat room messages are wanton, hateful and misogynist in nature and accompanied by disturbing videos and slogans. The values promoted make a joke of the school mottos of integrity and compassion. Is this just a case of boys behaving badly? Can society just dismiss this as a case of boys will be boys, nudge, wink, say no more?
Or is it the insidious culture among privileged young males that leads to entitlement and abuse of others later in life? Do boys behaving badly become men behaving badly?
Is It Just Boys Will Be Boys?
Psychologist, parenting expert, Dr Justin Coulson, throws light on the matter in his article accompanying the media story in The Daily Telegraph. ‘Why do teen boys say and do such revolting things?’ he asks. His answer dismisses the immaturity of the male teenage brain challenging this excuse as inadequate considering not all teens behave this way.
He blames not only sexist society attitudes but parenting for this anti-social, cruel culture of boys behaving badly. Teen boys who spend an inordinate amount of time online, become groomed to be outrageous. It is the way to get noticed in the group. Collective culture of gangs of any sort works this way. It is like the dominant male in an animal pack. He who howls loudest is the leader.
Look Out for Your Boys
Young males can only learn to be kind and caring through example, ie kind fathers or male role models. The right sort of behavior and attitudes will never be learnt in a pack of young males no matter how good the school is. Online activity is insidious and hidden in even the most prestigious campuses like Knox. Now with access to porn and social media on the Internet, teen boys can act however they like without detection or reprimand.
As mothers and sisters, we need to be mindful of boys behaving badly lest they become in time, men behaving badly. These type of men let their gender down. There are many wonderful men in the world. I am not a man hater. I am standing up for all the good guys and inspiring women to be watchful of their boys.
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Joni Scott is an Australian author with two published novels: Whispers through Time and The Last Hotel. She co-hosts a women’s blog; https://whisperingencouragement.com/ and has her own website; https://joniscottauthor.com.
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