Native Americans Explain What It’s Really Like Living On A Reservation[rebelmouse-image 18352898 is_animated_gif=
American Indians, Native Americans, Indigenous Americans, Aboriginal Americans, or First Nations are some of the evolving terms used to describe the people who made their home in the United States for tens of thousands of years before contact with European explorers like the Vikings.
To say life changed after the second wave of contact in the late 15th century is an understatement. Resettlement and forced removal reshaped Native cultures. They were altered again by the federal Assimilation Acts of the 19th century, including the establishment of Native American reservations.
Not all Natives live on reservations and life on a reservation for a Native is very different than off. There are both advantages, like community and cultural knowledge, and disadvantages, like geographic isolation and lack of jobs, to reservation life.
A Reddit user asked: "Native Americans/Indigenous Peoples of Reddit, what's it like to grow up on a Reservation in the USA?"
Here is some insight into Native American reservation life.
Resources[rebelmouse-image 18352899 is_animated_gif=
I'm Navajo, and from the Navajo Nation. The people were wonderful, for the most part. Being part of two of the tightest clans on the rez was pretty awesome. A lot of Navajo culture is basically just about enjoying life, and helping others do the same. That being said, the best part about being off the rez is having all the clean water I can drink. Seriously. Sometimes I just stand at the sink and run the tap to marvel at the clean water coming out of it. In large parts of the Navajo Nation, you can't dig wells because of the uranium in the top layer of the water table. So some people just have to drive out really far to deliver or pickup water in big barrels from areas that aren't contaminated. It took 40+ years for the US government to do anything about it. And just recently, the EPA agreed to cover half the cost of cleaning 94 (about 20% of the total) abandoned uranium mines on the reservation. The water table is still f'd, but it's a start, if nothing else. And people wonder why we don't trust the government.
Poverty[rebelmouse-image 18352900 is_animated_gif=
When I was a kid I often visited my grandparents on the res in Montana. I was too young at the time to realize the crushing poverty and hopelessness. My grandpa was one of those self-sufficient mountain men who didn't ever complain so I didn't "know" they were super poor. He taught me survival skills and outback engineering. We ate venison and rabbit all the time which was a treat to me but a staple to them. Poverty and alcoholism/drug abuse was rampant but I was sort of blind to that (Uncle Bert is sort of crazy I guess).
They eventually moved to a small town and ended up dying in poverty. My dad joined the Army and that was his ticket out of there and into the lower middle class.
Family[rebelmouse-image 18352901 is_animated_gif=
I loved it. My family was all within a 15-29 minute drive. I could run around in the woods and never felt like I was in danger. I could ride on the roads with my bike and felt safe. If I went to the store I was sure to see someone I knew. I was able to go to courts with my mother and watch our little courts do their stuff. I was able to call into out radio station and request a song and sometimes hear my voice on the radio. I was able to volunteer as a DJ and call out bingo numbers in my native language. I was able to become fluent in my native language. And that's something I could never do anywhere else. Growing up if I had a car issue someone I knew would stop and help me out. My grandfather was able to make a living off of the land. In the end we couldnt eat the food because of pollution from the manufacturing plants up river.
My family is here and that is the reason I love my reservation.
Culture[rebelmouse-image 18352902 is_animated_gif=
Growing up, my grandmother and her side of the family all lived in Cherokee, NC. My dad ended up down there too after my parents divorced. As a kiddo, I thought it was amazing, but as I got older, I realized most of what I saw was a tourist trap to try to bring in desperately needed income. Once Harrah's went in and the residents got stipends, I think some things improved but others got worse. Sudden cash doesn't look good on most people, on or off the res.
The best part of every visit was going to see the dramatization about the trail of tears...I haven't been to Cherokee in years, so I hope it's still going!! My grandmother always spoke of it with such reverence, and how lucky they were to still remain in NC. The loss of culture is the worst part of all of our native tribes. The language and traditions are slipping away.
Leadership[rebelmouse-image 18352903 is_animated_gif=
I'm Cree First Nations. I never lived in the rez because my mom wanted my sister and I to get an education and you can't really get that in our rez. Actually, most of my family doesn't live on the rez just because living conditions used to be really bad. Luckily I am so thankful we elected a new chief! He's building better schools, distributing scholarship and college funds to the youth... I met him and was able to talk to him and I'm glad he's committed to make our rez a better place!
Gangs[rebelmouse-image 18352904 is_animated_gif=
Native American here from Wolf Point, Montana. The unemployment, drug use, and sexually transmitted diseases percentage are above 80 percent on the Fort Peck Reservation. Wolf Point itself has a very bad meth problem, and currently the school system is being sued for racism.
The town is rampant with racism but there's a few good eggs here and there.
I was called an apple in high school (red on the outside, white on the inside) by all of the really cool guy gang members. Most of my graduating class still live in Wolf Point and are unemployed. Our high school had about 250 students total.
Education[rebelmouse-image 18352905 is_animated_gif=
Currently typing this at my parents house on the Carson Colony in NV. It's pretty rough here. It used to be worse. Lots of drugs and lots of booze. There's lots of illiteracy and just poor quality of life.
Basic Utilities[rebelmouse-image 18352906 is_animated_gif=
We don't even have electricity. Running water or proper housing. We heat our homes with a wood stove.
Lots of youth from here don't graduate. Have kids at 14-18 years old.
It's a hard place to grow up. I left 3 years ago. Living in the city now going to college.
Life is better, don't really plan on going back. Only for special occasions or family gatherings.
Changes[rebelmouse-image 18352907 is_animated_gif=
I would spend entire summers at my paternal grandparents place (Navajo/Diné Reservation) during school break.
My grandparents place is very secluded and the nearest neighbor was 10 to 15 miles away. Nestled in a small valley of Juniper and Cedar trees; there was a simple creek about a quarter mile away. When I was younger they didn't have electricity hooked up (power lines); we used oil lamps for light. But they had a double wide trailer with lights, a TV, and faucets built in. To power lights and the TV (to watch movies on a VCR) we would run a gas powered generator (sometimes the electricity would cut out mid way through a movie when the generator ran out of gas).
Then my grandfather got a hold of two large tanks. One buried in the ground to hold and pump water into the house. Then the water heater would kick on to hold hot water for sink and showers. But showering was discouraged as it would mean more trips to get more water. The other tank was strapped to a truck to haul water from Peabody built water stations. As I got older other amenities were added; electricity, microwaves, satellite TV, etc (still had to haul water though). I would say the day to day life there was one of non-boredom. There was always something that needed to be done to ensure your survival for later. Usually my job was to herd the sheep, check on the cattle, chop woods, haul water to the crop lands, maintain and harvest the crops, and other farm stuff. If not that then it was cooking and cleaning at the house.
But as more amenities were added some jobs just became obsolete. For example, my family would take time to shear the sheep and process the wool; either to sell or use as thread in rug making. But as advancements in the rez happened the availability of wool thread became abundant. So the processing of wool was not needed.
So as more advancements made their way into our lives, complacency became a part of the routine. My days became take out the sheep from the corral, move them to a good location to graze. Watch some TV. Cook. Clean. Check on sheep. Move them back into the corral. Cook. Clean. Watch TV. Sleep. Repeat.
Progress is a Double Edged Sword[rebelmouse-image 18352908 is_animated_gif=
I have family that live on the Tulalip Indian Reservation, north of Seattle. Alcohol is a huge problem, as is drunk driving. They sell fireworks around the 4th, though they go off all the time and there is no noise ordinance. Marijuana is legal in Washington, but not on the rez because it's federal land.
They opened a casino resort and outlet mall several years ago. It brings in a lot of money. The casino is really nice, really fancy, though I don't gamble. Our family goes to seafood night at the buffet. It's like $25 a person and all you can eat crab/shrimp/mussels/salmon.
My Grandma lived by the beach. My cousins and I were always going down there when we were younger. She's in a nursing home now and they tore down her house and put up condos.
North of the Border[rebelmouse-image 18352909 is_animated_gif=
You asked about reservations in the US, but I'll answer anyway. I grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, but my parents had roots in the north and we visited my grandma in a small northern community often. It's true that colonialism has left a legacy of addictions, abuse and other serious issues, but there's lots of great stuff in our communities too. My fondest childhood memories are of grandma making bannock with bear fat and the blueberries we picked. Most Indigenous people in Canada do not live on reserves. Many of us have never lived on reserves. I have raised my kids in the city, but we spend as much time as possible hunting, fishing, playing lacrosse, and other traditional pastimes.
Identity[rebelmouse-image 18352910 is_animated_gif=
Fort Hall Rez, Idaho. Rez life. It's alright. I mean it's prolly really bad on some other reservations. I can't attest to that. I've only been to a few different ones. But I can say this is kinda like a "ghetto" if you live in a nearby nicer suburb. But that's cliched since there's always a nicer neighborhood, and there's always a worse "bad part of town" everywhere, right?
Yes, and there are bad things out here. But we've done really well I think. A humorous outlook on all the bullshit is just something you can see people have learned. It's odd to me that only just recently has "Gangsta" attitude begun to disappear here. And even then it was just a handful of kids doin dumb s*. But going to school off rez there was often a palpable stigma that you might not be able to get beyond with some people. You can still feel it when you walk into some rooms with older folks.
Anyway growing up here was...hard for me. I guess. See I had a good family. There were the crazy uncles doin' the fast living, and it's been hard to accept that yes. But my family is mostly Traditional in lifestyle. This word Traditional is what has troubled me for years. In my opinion much of the Traditional mindset is just too xenophobic. It's awful sometimes to hear some of these elders talk trash on "daibos" the white people just down the road. Because those aren't bad people, they're my friends even. I figured out the lashing out at white folk is just a reaction to decades of negative influence.
I am not traditional, so I often see myself as a "bad" Indian. It's an identification issue that authors like Sherman Alexie capture really well for me. That's been the hardest part for me. I'm actually a musician, but not a Native Musician. I'm a sax player. I like jazz, and I'm sorry, but I can only stand powow songs for so long. I know a handful of "Indian" words, no I don't live in a tipi, but yes, yes I do know how to put one up. It's a dichotomous life I live, or something.
I think the worst thing about growin' up rez and then trying to succeed anywhere is the first time a colleague sees me show up late, or sees me after a few beers. I just lost that person's respect. And I can only hope that it isn't attached to race. Like, come on. Why can't I just be a shitty person for being late, and also separately be a useless drunk alcoholic?? Why I gotta be a Drunk Injun that shows up on Injun Time?? It's like I'd almost prefer to show up late and drunk in regalia just so it's THE issue, or not an issue at all.
Just let me fail in my own way, you know?
Artists[rebelmouse-image 18352911 is_animated_gif=
I'm from Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico and the biggest problem we've had here is alcoholism although it's been receding with the new programs and health classes that have been getting funded.
Overall there is nothing extraordinary here. It would be equivalent to a rural community. There's no stores aside from the local gas station and we don't have any internet providers in the area. We have a lot of new building and homes but all of our roads are dirt. There's a lot of farm land and open area. We have a middle plaza that's reserved for traditional dances and gatherings that aren't open to the public. The closest town is called Bernalillo about 30-40 miles away and there's 2 other reservations along the way.
We have a population of about 3,500 and 80% of us are fluent in the language with about a 60% participation rate in dances and traditions. The culture is strong here and we have a small (rate of) waning of language in younger children due to the advances in technology.
There's a high employment rate here and the pueblo has a main export of traditional foods and pottery. There are a bunch of different types of art but pottery is the main one.
Overall, reservation life isn't terrible here, culture and tradition is strong as well as the alcoholism rate going down with the top notch healthcare and programs that we get here. We're really remote as far as location goes and we have a high employment rate. Been here my whole life and wouldn't change a thing.
Dance[rebelmouse-image 18352912 is_animated_gif=
Hopi tribe here. My rez is in the Southwest and the sand gets everywhere. Even though I've moved to a big city I visit family Every time there is a dance. There's still a huge presence of kachina's which I take a lot of pride in.
Children being forced to boarding schools and forced to practice Christianity is still within living memory with my great uncles having been shipped to big cities.
There is a lot of poverty. Many people burn coal for heat in the winter and have to travel to the springs for clean water. But my So'oh (grandmother) tells me things are a lot better now than when she was young.
Even with the drugs and poverty everyone can still laugh at anything. And you barely walk through the door before being told to "sit down and eat".
Hard Work[rebelmouse-image 18352913 is_animated_gif=
I am a Navajo who grew up on the Navajo nation my entire life. My mom is a kind hearted women who works at a school and my dad is a strong very upfront man. He spent 30 years working industrial construction being a ironworker, pipefitter, welder and he says he was a journeyman and a foreman on many of his jobs but now he works at the hospital in the town I grew up because he says the work he did in those years really took its toll on his body. I consider myself very fortunate that my parents don't drink. Growing up my father was very rough on me and my older brother. As a 6 year old we would learn to ride horses and the purpose was for work like rounding up cattle or heading sheep. We worked on the fence lines as children and we would haul wood and coal because we used a stove. My dad used to tell me men don't cry and that if I'm ever going to be somebody that I needed to learn everything he knows so I did not play much as a kid. I spent weekends helping him change fuel pumps or he would be working with the horses. We were always doing something productive and it was hard.
Today I am 22 and live alone in Phoenix, Arizona. I am a full time student at the local community college and I am looking for a full time job now. I just got here last night and I am scared but I am ready. It wasn't until I was around 19 that I started to appreciate the way I grew up but I constantly think about the lack of friends I have and the lack of memories of being with the ones I had and it's always difficult because there are just not many of them. The Navajo nation is simple in that you either grow up like how I did or you grew up wishing you grew up like how I did because mom and dad were constantly drunk and leaving on the weekends to go spend the weekends at a casino.
There is really no middle ground, with a understanding soft spoken father and mother who understand that children need to be children and aggression is not the way to teach, but it's there and it's rare, I envy these parents.
Rez Culture[rebelmouse-image 18352914 is_animated_gif=
I grew up on a reservation in Minnesota. I left when I became an adult.
Basically has the same stuff as rural towns. No good paying work, lots of drug abuse, except the benefit of a Super Fund site next to the town (that's a huge chemical leak that no one can afford to clean up). It leads to a lot of cancers. My father died of a cancer associated with it.
The good is there's a strong sense of family in the community. My fiance grew up there as well, but has a much bigger family. They are all there for each other and it's amazing what people can do in groups like that.
The "Rez culture" is something I didn't even realize existed until I left. I said slang words no one understood and had an accent. Both me and my fiance have lost those accents (Don't tell her, but she gets it back if she is mad.)
False Assumptions[rebelmouse-image 18352916 is_animated_gif=
I'm from one in South Dakota. It's a sad place. I'll always love it because it's where I'm from, but it's hard to go back. The meth addiction there is terrible. That and the assumptions I deal with living in the city nowadays is annoying. They assume because I'm from the rez that I get everything free in life. Not the case.
Off Rez is Hard Too[rebelmouse-image 18352917 is_animated_gif=
I'm Cree First Nations and my parents moved from the rez before I was born because of how bad our education was and the living conditions (at the time, it's getting better now). I moved a lot, but when I was in high school I moved to a 90% white town and it was surreal how my sister and I were treated. We were both the "Native Girls" and were the only ones in our school and we received the dumbest stereotypes and worst questions. I had a 18 year old ask me if I could speak to animals and he was completely serious. Another guy asked my sister what it was like to grow up in a teepee. Our principal tried to exploit me and do a "traditional American Indian ceremony" and make me dance in front of the school because I'm a jingle dress dancer. He even hosted a "Indian drum lesson" and brought in a group of white ladies to teach the school how to drum. My sister and I refused to touch anything we were so mortified. I tried my best to educate people but it got so tiring hearing the same questions over and over again.
Isolation[rebelmouse-image 18352918 is_animated_gif=
Alaska native Inupiaq here. Born and lived 8 years in Barrow, then 20 years in Fairbanks. Now living in Anchorage. We don't have reservations but we do have villages that are mainly Native.
The biggest difference is economic. We didn't have much money, weren't raised with money and as a result have poor spending habits coupled with half-assed schooling by newbie bush teachers. Financial stability is something that we struggle with no matter if your Inuit or Athabaskan or Yupik. This of course can lead to everything else mentioned in this thread, alcoholism, drugs, suicide, etc. you get the picture.
It's getting better though, with each generation we're learning more.
Just Normal Folks[rebelmouse-image 18352920 is_animated_gif=
I was born and grew up on the Bad River Reservation on Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin. I lived in a house my mom's grandpa built in the 40s for the first couple years of my life, then my grandpa and family friends built a new house in the 80s, so that is my childhood home. My grandpa and uncle lived down the road in my childhood and they would harvest wild rice, and trap muskrat and beavers. The boat launch was under a mile from my house, and even closer to my grandpas land so I would go out with them a lot. He would sell the quilts, and wild rice at his smoke shop he had on the highway. We had a casino built on the Rez when I was about 10, and that was a big deal. There was a trailer park in the Rez and that is where most of my friends lived, but it was on the other side of the river and you'd have to either drive or get wet to get there. I worked at my grandpas smoke shop until it closed in 1996. We participate in pow wow weekends, selling quilts and wild rice. Pow wows are a good time, family comes who don't live on the Rez, mainly scattered around Wisconsin/ Minnesota. I lived in Milwaukee for a couple years as I attended community college and lived with a friend from the Rez. We brought some friends we met in the city up north and they said it was not how they imagined it. It's pretty normal, we're just all really poor, haha. Bad River Reservation, just outside of Ashland, Wisconsin, come check out the casino, I'll be at the bar.
Perspective[rebelmouse-image 18352921 is_animated_gif=
I grew up on the Navajo Nation; the largest reserve in the U.S. All my family still reside in the area, but I got to leave for college. For the most part, you are isolated from everything civilized. We did not have running water or electricity until I was about 10. My father and uncles had jobs 10 hours away and would make frequent weekend trips home, and the nearest town is probably a good hour drive. I did not realize how difficult our lives were until I moved away for college.
As children, we had the vast open landscape as our playground. We hiked, camped, played tag, all without boundaries or worries that strangers were lurking. It was a close knit community, and families were clustered across the reservation. For example, if you were to visit a family friend, then you could pretty much walk on over to visit their grandparents, siblings, etc.
I would make frequent trips home during college, and suddenly there is a disconnect between you and your home. You leave home again impressed with this overwhelming grief. Not only is alcohol rampant on the reservation, but the quality of life is just unbelievable (compared to the rest of the USA).
Mitakuye Oyasin[rebelmouse-image 18352922 is_animated_gif=
I've lived on Standing Rock in North and South Dakota for almost my entire life (and I'm sure some of you are aware of it now because of our anti-pipeline movement). These are just my experiences:
I lived with my grandmother (who I called iná, mom) and several cousins as a young child, and our house had no running water, electricity, or anything else like that. We had to drive sometimes up to 3 hours away to fill up water tanks, but we usually just used water from the river to wash/bathe/eat/drink/etc. We had a woodstove for cooking, and we used candles, gas lamps, and flashlights at night. When I became school-aged I would try to finish all of my homework at a community center before it got dark. There were hardly any stores and my grandmother was a residential school survivor and was always very reluctant and fearful of leaving the reservation, so we mainly supplied our own food by hunting/gathering/gardening. I definitely have a lot of wild childhood stories, but I wouldn't trade any of those experiences for the world.
After my grandmother passed, I moved in with my aunt. We had about a dozen people living in one of those crappy firetrap HUD trailers so it was constantly chaos. It was pretty much the norm though, and most of the kids only came home to sleep. We got commods (gov't food) but it was never enough so I ended up getting sent to live with a hunka (non-blood/ceremonial) relative after a few years. The schooling was pretty average, but I was considered "advanced" so I took several online courses in addition to my normal classes, and I attended a lot of summer programs too. Those summers were the first time I realized that some people looked down on how we lived, and how different it was for some of them. It was a little hard to accept and a lot of things that other kids said bothered me, but I guess I just got used to ignoring it. I was aware of a lot of the problems in my community, like alcoholism and drug abuse, but I was also aware of how complex those issues are when you throw in a lot of the generational trauma people are dealing with. I saw it in my own family, with how traumatized my older relatives were by their residential school experiences, and how it trickled down and really affected younger people even though it wasn't actually their trauma. It can be really difficult to deal with, and I feel like a lot of people just brush it off or deny that it's an issue altogether.
I went away for university and then I came back and got another degree at our tribal college. I've pretty much dedicated myself to working in the revitalization of our language, and right now I work in a full immersion program for younger children. I also tutor at a few local schools, and work several after-school programs when I can, but my main focus is definitely the language. The main problem is that our biggest resource is managed by Europeans who won't fully commit to community involvement and also aren't too keen on passing the reins onto actual Lakota/Dakota people who are already involved.
Overall, I definitely don't blame people (especially kids) for wanting to leave, and I actually try to encourage young people to leave and have some life experiences away from here. It's so easy to get stuck in this vacuum and fall into some of the vicious cycles that exist around here.
But honestly, I could never see myself permanently leaving. When I'm off-rez, I feel like I sometimes become "The Native Girl" to everyone. In college I felt like I became the spokesperson for every Native person ever to some people, and it was really hard to express myself as an individual around them. And I often felt very uncomfortable hearing some of the things my peers had been taught about us. One guy told me that his dad warned him to never stop on a reservation, and if anyone approached him to just run them over. I had a classmate who wanted to pick my brain all the time because she spent a week on a reservation for a service project once and it was just exhausting. There were a lot of misconceptions (I don't get free anything unless we count a few Pell Grants and a scholarship that covered two semesters of my second degree) and flat out lies they expected me to be an expert spokesperson on.
At home on the rez, I feel like I'm seen as more of a complete person, with interests separate from my Lakota identity. We definitely have a lot of problems and a long way to go in some aspects, but I love being able to visit with elders and hear their stories, and being able to understand them when they speak our language. I love playing handgames with my friends, I love dancing during wacipi season, I love digging prairie turnips with my little cousins, I really just love my community as a whole.
As the years go by, it's harder to imagine what life was like before the invention of the things we take for granted today. Things like cell phones that boast professional camera functions, ordering food online, and of course, social media.
Ask any 18-year-old what the world was like before social media came along, and they won't be able to answer. I barely remember that world!
Some people are worried about the way social media has overtaken the lives of children and wonder if we should place age restrictions on social media. Currently, most social media sites stipulate that users must be at least 13 years of age to register for an account.
Wondering if we should Redditor aussieredditooor asked:
"Would the world be a better place if we put a minimum age of 18 on social media, why/why not?"
The responses were quite mixed. Some people definitely thought the idea of placing an age restriction on social media was a winner.
"Facebook should go back to being just for college students. Once they opened up to everyone the world collectively became more dumb than it already was. There's that tweet that talks about parents warning children about the dangers of the internet, only to be the ones who should have taken heed of those words."
"Yes I’ve been suggesting this for a while. Social media is damaging for children. They should have a right to be kids and not worry about sh*tty insta posts. They also deserve to have some solitude after school and not be bullied through social media at home."
"There’s more than just one problem and some of them absolutely involve kids. Cyberbullying, for example, is absolutely a kids problem just as much as an adult problem."
"It's ridiculously hard enough for adults to navigate the complexities of online communication, let alone children, adolescents, and teens... Whose BRAINS are still developing."
"Studies have shown for years that a rise in online communication is detrimental to interpersonal skills."
"Yes 10 year olds don't need to see all the garbage people be posting. Kids don't need to know all the drama and hate. They need to learn to be nice and respectful before coming to social media. Social media made me see thing that I will never forget."
Others think the age restriction should go the other way. Instead of having a minimum age requirement, social media sites should institute a maximum age requirement.
"I think a maximum age would have a better effect honestly"
"Kids aren't the problem, they just laugh at memes and make dumb jokes the same as the rest of us."
"Put a maximum age like 65. Kick all the senior citizens off. They're the ones who promote violence, hate, etc."
"It would be a better place if we put a maximum age of 40 on social media."
"Only if we do a maximum age limit too. Both extremes of the age spectrum seem to make it a habit of posting the first vile thing that comes to their mind without a second thought as to whether it is factual or will cause hurt to others."
Some people think social media should be done away with altogether.
"Getting rid of social media will make the world a better place."
– Deleted User
"Just get rid of social media all together and things would be a lot better in this world"
"No. I think we should get rid of social media entirely, at least in its current forms. We need to get rid of all kinds of internet points, infinite scrolling, suggested content algorithms, targeted ads, and everything else that makes social media as addictive and divisive as it is. We need international laws about misinformation, hate speech, and encouraging violence, and if we can't make that happen then we should segregate it by country to lessen the chances of the real world being influenced by foreign trolls and the kind of memey BS that got Trump elected."
"We're better off interacting with the people in our local communities, and trying to change things in real life instead of complaining about them online and drawing validation from echo chambers on the internet. We can't live in a fantasy world forever, and we'll only dig ourselves into deeper holes if we try."
Most people agree that implementing an age restriction won't stop kids from using social media.
"Is that going to stop teens from going on their adults account? Not really. So it won’t help"
"People won't magically understand how to use the internet safely once they become of age. Blocking children won't work. We need to be educating children on how to engage with the internet safely, how to set boundaries and how to follow them."
"I signed up for MySpace at 11 or 12 when I think you had to be 13, most of my friends did the same. Same with Facebook when it had age limits back in the day. Hard to actually verify unless you have to put in your social security number or whatever equivalent other countries use for background checks which is a kinda dangerous slope."
"I mean, adult-only sites say "You can only view this content if youre 18+", do kids just be like "Oh ok I'll come back when Im 18"?"
However, it seems most people think an age restriction is a bad idea.
"I have only been over 18 for less than a year, so I’ll have to say no. I think that sheltering is one of the worst ways to teach safety. Also, I have learned about so many topics that I never would have without the internet."
A World Of Knowledge
"Blocking kids from social media would negatively impact minorities, disproportionately to non minorities. Many queer youth rely on the internet for support and advice to navigate the world safely."
"As I used internet as a form of escapism as well, and it also helped me learn about my bisexuality and my ADHD."
"I definitely found a lot of good help from online subgroups when I was younger. It’s tough bc there definitely is a lot of bad out there and it’s important we teach good Internet guidelines as a precautionary to avoid issues. I know my family was quite spoken on how I shouldn’t ever share any private info"
And that's the answer. Social media in and of itself isn't evil. In fact, sometimes, it's necessary. Between helping kids deal with their loneliness and depression, passing along important and truthful information, and just allowing ease of communication and teamwork, social media is a very good thing.
While the public's concerns are valid, getting rid of social media, or restricting who can and can't use it isn't the answer. Educating people on internet safety and what counts as helpful on social media, and what only causes harm, is the way to go.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below
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It's all our deepest fear to fall flat on our faces when there's a bunch of people around. No one wants to look the fool, and no one wants to look the fool especially when it happens before a group of people you're going to see every day for the forseeable future.
Embarrassing moments can come out of nowhere, but how you handle yourself in the aftermath is what matters. Laugh it off, shake it off, go with the chuckles, and let the people know you can't be hurt by it.
Well, unless you're any of the people in the stories below. Then I'd consider getting a new address and name.
Reddit user, Konke420xd, wanted to know when the shame was too much to handle when they asked:
"What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever witnessed?"
School seems like a good place to slip up and make a fool of yourself. Surely, everyone will treat it with care and kindness right?
"Oral," Not "Oral"
"I was a sophomore in HS (so around 16) taking the last leg of my county's sex ed class. It was a co-ed day, so our full gym class of about 30 kids was in the room. Topic was STD's. The teacher mentioned oral sex a few times and I guess which diseases can be spread through it. One guy who was always pretty quiet and shy raised his hand and said "I just don't really understand how you can get an STD from talking about sex..."
"It took everyone, including the teacher, a few seconds to understand, but some quiet laughter came from a few students. the teacher then of course had to explain as simply as she could that oral sex did not in fact mean talking about sex (I think the stupid bylaws of the program in our county didn't allow her to fully disclose what it was)."
"Anyway, we thought he was joking but as he heard the laughter from everyone after getting this explained to him, he slowly put his head down and covered his face for the next few minutes. Poor guy. I felt bad, but it was hard not to laugh. At least no one directly gave him sh-t for it afterward"
Keep Your Preferences At Home
"Community college in Tampa, 2009. Spanish class. Shy goth girl walks to the front of the class and plugs in her USB drive to boot up her PPT and begin her presentation like the rest of us did. Except when she pluged it in, a file opened up and the most vile anime porn started playing. Everyone was mortified for her. It took her maybe 3-4 seconds to turn it off but the moment felt like forever. She said, "THIS IS MY BOYFRIEND'S DRIVE!" and ran out of the room crying. The teacher just moved on. The girl didn't show her face for a week. Just an absolutely insane moment."
Triumph, Glory, Embarrassment
"At a pep rally to celebrate a sporting victory, a student insisted that he carry the school flag and run laps around the team. He tripped and fell onto the newly displayed trophy, immediately breaking it. This was on the front page of Reddit for a bit and I’m glad I witnessed it as my school’s claim to fame."
When You Want To Stand Up To A Bully But Fail
"There was this kid in my high school that was taking karate classes. He decided he wanted to fight a kid that was bullying him after school in the town park. A sh-t ton of people went. He got all pumped up before the fight. Instantly, once the fight started, he began doing karate moves at the air. Once he reached the bully, the first thing he decided to do was a very flashy "spinning backhand"(?). He missed by a mile and was knocked out immediately. I felt really bad for him. He was always known for not being able to read situations very well and that, being his first normal fight, was just the absolute worst time to try that move out. Bullies suck. It was embarrassing for both of them."
Public places seem like the perfect spot to get into all sorts of chicanery. After all, nobody is going to judge you for it on the internet.
Except, of course, that's exactly what we'll do.
To Be Fair, He Made The Right Call About His Idiocy
"Alright, so my husband and I were driving around the city and it was pouring outside. Absolutely pouring. We were about to pass the lightrail train tracks (going in both directions) when the crossing gates came down because the lightrail was approaching."
"One idiot in a van decided he could make it across before the gates came all the way down. He kept on driving, but he did not make it. Instead, his vehicle was now trapped between the gates."
"We could see from our car that this person was PANICKING. His life was flashing before his eyes. In his movie mind, the lightrail was about to crash into the van and drag it for dozens of yards before finally stopping... so he did what anyone would do. He violently pushed the door open and RAN in the pouring rain for his life."
"He was halfway down the street before he stopped, turned around, and noticed that the lightrail was patiently waiting for him to move the vehicle. The door was still open. My husband and I just about pissed ourselves laughing."
Keep Your Passions At Home
"I was watching a symphony orchestra concert at the Sydney Opera House one evening. The concert hall foyer has these huge glass windows beneath the sails that overlook the harbourside. The sun hadn't quite set yet, and every audience member that was exiting the hall could see this incredibly drunk middle aged couple having sex on a bench outside the hall."
When It's Not Just A Towel
"Was in a pool at a Euro beach resort. We’d been chatting with an old brit tourist, he got out of the pool and went to get changed poolside, using his towel to do the discrete swimming tog shuffle."
"Suddenly up steps an angry Frenchmam wanting HIS towel back..."
"Turns out our poor retired gent had grabbed the wrong towel. There ensued a desperate tug-of-towel as a very stroppy Frenchman attempted to rip his towel from this poor old guy who was butt naked and frantically trying to save his modesty."
"The old guy’s grandson saved the day, with an emergency towel transfer, but not before the whole pool complex had seen way too much hairy old British grandpa scrote."
We're Not As Cool As We Think
"I was at a food court and I got the brilliant idea to jump over a row of those plastic chairs and tables.. You know, the ones that are fixed to the floor."
"Foot got caught and I fell flat on my face. I stood up to 30 people clapping. One guy yelled asking for my autograph."
Perhaps the lesson best learned from these following stories is to make sure you use the bathroom before you leave the house.
Take It To The Dance Floor?
"I was on a high end cruise line at dinner. An older lady got up to go to the bathroom but missed and pooped herself in the dining room entrance. She left her panties there and continued on to the bathroom."
Maybe We Should All Only Poop At Home...
"I used to work in nightclubs. I once witnessed a girl leaning against a wall, casually flirting with a guy and as she laughed she actually sh-t herself. She was wearing a white dress and there was no hiding what had happened. The smell actually cleared the whole level of the club. She ran out crying. We had to clean poo off the floor where she had been standing. I often wonder what she is doing now..."
I think the lesson we can take from all of these is anything you would normally do in private that, in the moment, feels right to do in public, don't. Just, don't.
Have you ever seen something so embarrassing you felt bad from the person? Tell us about it in the comments.
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Not everyone is capable of mastering the art of conversation.
It takes skill to perpetuate a lively discussion while also being a respectful listener.
Some people are naturals at this.
Others, however, make up for their self-aware verbal shortcomings by overcompensating. Unfortunately, the ruse ends up exposing their insecurity, much to the delight of their amused audience.
Curious to hear examples of this, Redditor TheArchitect_7 asked:
"What’s a thing dumb people say that makes them think they sound smart?"
Some people just want reactions more than a back-and-forth interaction.
"'You wouldn't understand.' Yeah, that's why I asked you for an explanation."
"I sometimes use big words that I don't really understand to make myself sound more ambidextrous."
Looking At The Score
"The more someone emphasizes their IQ, the less smart I think they actually are."
"Everything happens for a reason, nothing is actually 'free' as someone has to pay for it, both parties are the same, you may have book smarts, but I have street smarts, common sense isn't so common anymore, but that's how we've always done it!"
"An addition to the previous: 'We will send 40 billion to Ukraine, but we won't spend 40 billion to secure our schools!'"
Things can get wacky when dealing with someone who is cantankerous.
"Something along the lines of 'You can’t prove it didn’t happen.'"
"A guy at work tried to pull this one on me. He believed one of those Animal Planet mockumentaries about a giant killer shark was real. When I told him it was all fiction and that there was no real proof of this kind of stuff, he tried to argue back about while he couldn’t prove it, I couldn’t disprove it either."
"There’s a saying about getting into an argument with a stupid person. This was my real world experience with it."
"Do you know who I am?"
The Equivalent Of Winning
"Thinking that getting a reaction out of someone is the same thing as winning an argument."
"My friend once used the phrase 'By its very definition' while we were arguing about something...so I asked him what the definition actually was, while he fumbled with that a bit I told him to stop using weasel words."
"'it all depends on how you look at it.' yeah thats f'king obvious."
We all love a good malaprop.
"For all intensive purposes"
It's Moot, Really
"Cracks me up every time."
Sometimes, editing yourself a bit in discourse with those who are intellectually out of your league is better than trying to keep up with them in an attempt to win their favor by articulating something you know nothing about.
I would explain better, but you wouldn't understand.
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*The following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm.
Positive memories stay with us forever that we can always revisit with a smile.
Witnessing a loved one receiving their diploma after years of dedicated studying, celebrating a sports victory with other teammates, or traveling to a dream destination with your significant other after months–even years–of careful planning.
But in addition to reveling in nostalgia, there are other life experiences we'd like to soon forget but have a difficult time shaking off.
Curious to hear about some of the more ominous events experienced by strangers online, Redditor IM_Not_A_Robot_10110 asked:
"What have you witnessed that will haunt you forever?"
What happens inside hospitals are full of trauma and heartache, even medical professionals have a hard time processing what they encounter.
The Pediatric Patient
"X-ray tech here, but I was a student at the time. Called to ER for trauma code. Only know it's a pediatric patient. The terror as I walk around the corner and see it's a little boy, same size as my son. We go to take an x-ray and he's making this high pitched shrill wheezing noise. They couldn't intubate enroute so we were doing a chest/neck to see what was going on. His neck was full of air."
"Come to find out the story later, he had tripped and fallen in school and his neck went square on a desk and he had broken his trachea. Believe he was stabilized & flown out. Never found out what happened after."
Calling Time Of Death
"ER nurse. This won’t haunt me in a bad way, but it’ll stick with me for sure. We were coding a middle aged lady we knew was going to die. We were pulling out the last ditch stuff hoping we’d get lucky, but everyone knew which way it was going."
"Family was there and in the room. When it was clear we had run through all the Hail Marys and it was time to call it, the husband spoke up for the first time. He had apparently been an EMT for a long time so he knew what he was looking at. He said he was going to do the final round of compressions."
"It was very respectfully done. He got up to do his 2 minutes, the nurses quietly started turning things off so there wouldn’t be continuous alarms, we called for a pulse check which the husband did, then we called time of death. He was thankful we let him do that and I was thankful to be a part of it."
"Not me, but my roommates fiancé is a flight nurse. She told me this story around Easter."
"They showed up to a scene being told beforehand that there was a patient with a gun shot wound and bleeding bad but that’s all they were told. When they got there they found a woman who was sitting on the ambulance gurney completely lucid and looking around, completely missing her lower jaw. She said you could see down her throat and she looked like a zombie. Her lower jaw was hanging to the side by some tissue and when she looked about it swung around and dangled. She said the woman seemed relatively calm and when she tried to speak what was left of her tongue kinda moved but nothing but gurgles came out."
"It was not a suicide, her boyfriend accidentally discharged his firearm while they were in his car."
AIDS Epidemic Era
"Retired RN. I was working in the PACU and helped another nurse take her patient to his room. As I was adjusting something by his head, he grabbed my hand and started crying. He kept saying I don’t want to die. He was barely 20. In an isolation room. I looked into his eyes and tried to comfort him as he sobbed. This was in the early days of the 'AIDS epidemic.' He died within a week. To this day I still see his eyes and hear him sobbing."
Traffic accidents can be some of the most gruesome scenes no one should ever have to witness.
"I live next to a busy street, inbetween lanes is a tram station. Teenager wanted to cross and got run over by a tram. Well, partly run over, he ended up with his body squeezed in between the tram and the tram station wall, with his legs stuck under the tram. It took about 1,5 hours until they had the equipment to lift the tram to get him out of there. They managed to reanimate what was left of him but he died in the hospital."
"It was Easter Sunday about 5 in the afternoon. I was driving home from the lake with a friend of mine on a country highway that’s pretty well traveled. It’s one of those single lane coming and single lane going where the speed limit is 70 roads. The intersections are far and few between so instead of an overpass it’s just a blinking yellow caution light. In what literally felt like the blink of an eye the car driving in front of me is struck on the drivers side door."
"The impact pushes both cars off to the road and onto the shoulder. I hit my brakes and was able to stop to help render aid. My friend and I get out of the car and run over to help. The drivers side door is crushed inward, driver has been pushed into the passenger side. It was a younger lady, maybe mid 30s. The impact pushed her out of her seat and into her daughter."
"You ever see movies where a dead body jump scares someone and it just stares at the with wide eyes and mouth agape….. yeah. The girl is ok but very confused. She has no visible injuries and is freely looking around so we unbuckled her and pulled her out of the car so she didn’t realize her mom was laying on her. As we do it I look at the mom and I can see a little life is left in her, so I said the only thing we could say. 'She’s alright.'”
"You could see the light in her eyes fade and she passes away. More cars stop and help out. As more people are here to help I start to realize that someone has been screaming, at me. In the back seat is her son. He must have been knocked unconscious and he’s now yelling, not out in pain but asking 'Is mom okay, is she okay?' I had no words for him, he was maybe 6. His sister was about 9. Thankfully about 4 of the cars that stopped were off duty first responders so they quickly took over for me. This was about 20 years ago, I was 17 at the time and I just saw a mom die in front of her 2 kids. I’m crying now thinking back on it and to this day I still refuse to ever take that road again."
"They finally build an actual stop light a couple years back. The area isn’t more crowded so I can only imagine what the motivation to improve that intersection was."
"I was designated driver at my friend's 30th birthday party. Had just dropped off my last friend and I was heading home. Little blue car zipped by me going maybe 10 over. Maybe a block ahead of me I see the speeding car hit two 20 yr olds who were running across the street. They were running to McDonald's across from the nightclub they were partying at and didn't wait for a red light. I'll never forget the girls blond hair in the bright headlights as she got hit. One thing that isn't ever correct in tv shows when people get hit by cars is how much damage it does to a human body. I distinctly remember his legs laying like 2m from his body. Both died right when paramedics got there."
"Getting hit by a car really is ugly. My girlfriend accidentally stepped on the street while we were having a minor disagreement and bam she was gone in a moment. I have ptsd, I can still see all the blood, her trying to breathe and the moment she gave up."
You never know when a friend or acquaintance is going through an extremely rough time–even though they present themselves differently in public.
All we could ever be as fellow humans is to always be compassionate.
"I found my roommates body in our apartment when I was in college. He had suffocated himself with a helium tank and a plastic bag over his head. That fucked me up pretty good, especially because I knew he was struggling with his mental health. He was cutting himself too, he tried to hide it but I noticed. And I didn’t say a word, i didn’t offer a helping hand. I could have done something to help him, but I didn’t. That guilt is still there, 10 years down the line."
What The Taxi Driver Witnessed
"I was driving Taxi once and I picked up someone who said he thinks he just saw a dead body. Said someone had jumped from the top of the parking garage. There was already an ambulance and what not on the scene. I remember briefly thinking of my friend Willzo, but dismissed it, I didn’t even think he was depressed like that. I found it odd that I would even consider such a thing out of nowhere. But I dismissed the thought and went about my work night. Couple days later I got a call from a mutual friend. 'Hey buddy, did you hear about Will? He jumped off the parking garage a few days ago.'”
These Redditors' stories are a lot to take in.
However, they are good reminders about the brevity of life and how we should always strive towards being the best versions of ourselves while we're still alive.
Because you never know when you or someone close to you will have their last breath.
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/
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