13-year-old boy arrested for allegedly throwing ofo bike off HDB block
A shocking viral video captured this teen throwing an ofo bike down a block of flats. How do we teach our kids to be socially responsible?
With bike-sharing starting to take off here, Singaporeans' misuse of these bikes has made the news repeatedly. Appalling reports have emerged of bike-sharing startup ofo's distinctive yellow bikes being vandalised, damaged, and even painted over with questionable intentions.
Now a video has surfaced online, featuring a teen throwing an ofo bike down from a HDB block in Whampoa. According to Channel NewsAsia reports, police have arrested a 13-year-old in connection with this case of rash act.
An act beyond vandalism
In the shocking video, a male in a black T-shirt can be seen picking up the ofo bike and launching it off the HDB block at some height. The block in question is Block 116B Jalan Tenteram, as reported by Channel NewsAsia.
Another male's voice can also be heard in the background, saying "This is not my motherf*cking fault, I swear to God."
The video was first posted on video-sharing site Vimeo, and went viral after being shared on Reddit Singapore. It has since been taken down.
The police received several reports about the incident from public-spirited Singaporeans, along with one from ofo on Thursday (Jun 15). Ms Angela Cai, ofo's global public relations lead, told Channel NewsAsia, "This is something that goes beyond vandalism and poses a great threat to people's safety."
Under Singapore law, those found to have committed a rash act can face up to six months' jail, a fine of up to $2500, or both. But for minors, a lighter touch may be necessary — the judge may consider certain facts and circumstances before sentencing, the police told Channel NewsAsia.
Teaching social responsibility
Most of the comments on Reddit Singapore, where the video first went viral, wholeheartedly condemned the teen.
"People like him is exactly why we can't have nice things lying around. You a******! Hope ofo can track him down and make him pay!"
"If he had thr[own] the bike into the river I would've been mad as well, but just imagining some innocent passers-by getting hit by the bike... That's f***ing murder."
"I don't know these people but I'm so disappointed. How could anyone be this foolish and wicked?"
No doubt, the teen's actions are inexcusable — this is not vandalism but killer litter. Anyone walking below when the heavy bike was tossed down would have been crushed severely, if not killed. It's the kind of inability to think of others that's reflected in damaging a communal bike — taken to an extreme.
Add to all this the fact that he and his friend filmed and shared their reckless escapade. This seems to reflect complete unconsciousness of how reprehensible his actions would seem to others.
Before we deplore him, however, let's also take into account his youth. At 13, he's barely out of childhood — old enough to know better perhaps, but not mature enough to take thought for others around him.
As parents of teens would know, the teenage years are a time of turmoil. Perhaps a sense of social responsibility will take root as these teens grow up and mature — it's important that we don't let a moment of thoughtlessness define their lives.
To prevent such incidents from happening, it's definitely important to inculcate social responsibility in our kids from young. Parents, here are some tips to teach your kids how to empathise and care for others early on:
Set the example
Actions speak louder, so make sure you set an example in empathy for your child. You can even 'think aloud' to make it clearer. For example, if you accidentally say something sharp to your partner, you can say, "I think mummy/daddy might have felt hurt by that. How can I try to make him/her feel better?"
Encourage them to put themselves in others' shoes
Show your little ones how much they have in common with others! For example, most of us would teach our kids to walk under shelter rather than in the open beneath a HDB building, for fear of killer litter. At the same time, teach them to extend this concern for themselves to other passers-by.
Develop their inner moral compass
Avoid a carrot-and-stick system — research has shown that kids who receive external reward for helping out are less likely to aid others further on.
Instead, help your little ones develop an inner sense of judgment. Give them rational explanations for the consequences of their actions, especially why something helps or hurts others.
Parents, what are your thoughts? Should this teen be condemned, or should we see his actions in a more understanding light? Share your views with us in the comments!
ALSO READ: Are we punishing children for being human?