Friday, July 24, 2009
So I'm having a discussion with the wife and we get to talking about kids and what they should and shouldn't be allowed to do at home as opposed to in public. Specifically, we were talking about how we don't give a shit if they say shit like shit around us, but that we'll have to get them to understand that you have to temper your language out in the public sphere.
From there, the discussion expands into what they will and will not be doing out in public without us knowing. Which I recognize is not a problem unique to us but rather the ultimate question any parent worth their weight in aluminum in the history of ever has probably contemplated at some point. But it occurred to me that parents with kids from high school and down right now (and let's face it, once the kids go off to college, they aren't really under your control anymore anyway) may have a much easier time keeping tabs on their kids than any generation before.
Consider the times we live in. The concept of privacy is vastly different for the kids growing up right now than it has been ever before. We have at out fingertips sites like Facebook and Twitter, cell phones that call, text, and shoot video, Youtube available to use for free to anyone who has a video camera, and blogs to talk about whatever we want to whoever will listen. All this amounts to one thing: wherever you go, whatever you do, someone is always watching. And kids these days seem to want it that way.
Parents out there are probably thinking, "Must keep kids away from technology for as long as possible!" Certainly, you don't want seven year old Cindy out there with a MySpace page ripe for perusing by any anonymous pervert, and there are a lot. But when they get a little older, start learning about stuff in school that you don't want them to learn about, and start experiencing those raging hormones...maybe some of these sites aren't such a bad idea?
Consider the role models for our youth today. I'm going to reference one in particular and compare her to someone from our parents (or maybe grandparents) youth. Disney starlet Vanessa Hudgens versus Disney starlet Annette Funicello. Hudgens, as most of you are probably already aware, is the star of the massively popular teen film series "High School Musical." Around the time the second movie of the trilogy was popular, she had an experience which has become all to familiar to young female celebrities in her age group. She had naked pictures of her show up on the web. Disney's reaction was basically to forgive her and she went on to star in the third film and remain a major role model for kids. I wonder what would have happened if Annette had done the same thing? Of course the internet didn't exist back then, but I mean what if racy photos of her had shown up in tabloids? You think she would have stayed on Disney shows?
The point is that the internet has given us all the tools to be uninhibited for better or for worse, but this is a double edged sword. Teenagers like to be uninhibited anyway, but the change that has affected them the most is the seemingly lax attitude towards a lack of public inhibition. We now live in a world where a sex tape does not end your career, it makes it. See Paris Hilton. The bright side for parents is your teenagers were going to potentially make stupid choices anyway. That's what hormones make you do. But now you have tools at YOUR disposal to at least know when and what they did!
What I'm getting at is this: when your kid hits that age, maybe you should go out and get him or her a cell, or set up a Facebook page or let him or her Twitter...with the caveat that you get to friend them or follow them! Kids see Hudgens or Hilton showing their bodies to the entire world now; they may be surprisingly less apprehensive about letting their parents friend them than you think. And then, when your daughter posts her breasts on Johnny from down the street's blog...well, at least you'll know its time to buy her a box of condoms, right? Sphere: Related Content