‘The best thing about being in my 30s is that I did all my stupid sh*t before the Internet’.
I recently shared this e-card on Facebook and it seemed to resonate with a lot of my friends. Of course the Internet was around in my late teens, early twenties (I mention that period as I guess that was when I got up to the most mischief) but it was really only something we used for research for assignments.
The most significant change has been brought about by the introduction of social media. In my youth, if you had one of those nights where you woke up on someones sofa wondering what had happened the night before, your friends would fill you in on the details, you would have a few days of shame at School/University and if you were really unlucky there might be a few badly taken photos from a disposable camera. Now however, these poor kids have it spread all over Facebook , Twitter and Instagram. The comments that may have happened behind your back before are now written down for all to see. The embarrassing crushes, boyfriends, drunken nights and outfits are there for all to see. All these thing that enable the bullies out there.
I’m sure we’ve all done things in our past that we wouldn’t necessarily want our future bosses to see but the young now either don’t think that far ahead or don’t have control over others around them. I’m not saying we were any more sensible, we just had the luxury of growing up and making our mistakes privately. It’s like every teenager is a celebrity, growing up in the spotlight which makes people feel like they have the right to comment on their appearance and actions. We don’t want a society of Lindsey Lohans and Britneys do we?
There is so much pressure on them to be wearing the ‘right’ clothes and hanging out at the ‘right’ places. It’s alway been there, but it is so much harder now as they need to be proving it. Gone are the days of exaggerated stories of nights out (you know those tales of drinking 10 pints of cider when in reality you were sick after 3), now they are having to live those exaggerated nights and its being filmed as proof.
Having two young children I’m certainly worried, of course you think the solution is simple, don’t let them on these sites but do I want my children to be ridiculed for being the only ones amongst their peers that don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account? I will insist on setting their privacy settings and having access to their accounts but I will have to let go of the reigns at some stage (is 35 acceptable?). It’s my job to give them self worth, confidence and educate them on privacy but I’m not sure what else I can do, short of home schooling and locking them in the house till they’re 18…..
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A woman after my own heart! I was reading this, nodding repeatedly and going “yep, yep…..oh God, that too”. I’ve recently turned 40 so a ‘few’ (probably lots of) years older but I am SO bloody glad there was no internet when I was trying to work out what life was all about. There are moments that I have tried to erase from my mind, bad dates, drunk endeavours…the usual. To think that these poor kids will have their lives documented somewhere on the world wide web forever more, it’s like someone holding a criminal record on you.
My son is nearly 16 and fully engaged in social media and everything being ‘sick man’ (GROAN). I worried like you did, I still do, but no matter how much I have tried to monitor his online activities over the years, he/they will find a way to hide things if they really want to. The main years of stress and continuous panic for me were 11-14 because that’s when everything really starts changing. As well as talking about funny stuff online and laughing away at silly pictures and jokes, I kept going on and on about internet safety, showed him examples of people who had been bullied online and how it made them feel, etc., just trying to educate him really and let him know I’m around if he wants a chat about anything (he hasn’t – but he has on occasion repeated things I have spoken to him about so some of it has sunk in!). Sometimes I’ll hear him giggling away and will ask what was happening, usually he tells me (which is great for me because it’s a way of still keeping an eye on what he’s doing and I also feel like a really clever secret agent), other days I get Chewbacca coming down the stairs, the odd grunt of reluctant recognition and that’s it. I used to despair, but my Mum simply says “that’s teenagers – he’ll be ok in an hour”. And he usually is.
I think it also helps hugely that parents these days are au fais with the internet, we are using the same tools they are, whereas most parents when we were growing up were alien to anything digital. As parents, all we can do is our best and hope it turns out ok. One thing I DO know, those bloody Waltons with their perfect household with their perfect kids were a bunch of liars.
(I’m sorry for writing a novel, it was only going to be a short post! )
Wow thanks for your comments, great to hear another persons view on it and that someone enjoys reading what I have written. I’m just starting out so its amazing to already have followers that comment on my posts. Thanks again, I will check out your blog.
That is the most excellent common sense, I just wish all parents thought the same. Unfortunaley some parents are happy to shove a IPhone or IPad in their kids hands and lock them away in their rooms whilst thery have their lazy/private time. These kids tend to be the bullies and trolls as their parents don´t give a hoot, (attention seeking). Very bad\irresponsible parenting indeed. Privacy settings need to be on red alert and when they fnally get an Xbox, IPhone and Tinternet at 35 years old, they will be responsible with it. Educating young teens about the good and bad of social media is a must. The internet is a powerful communication device that will eventually implode, but before this happens, we have to keep our beedy eyes and well trained eyes on them. They will always find a way. I remember my friends mum used to put a lock on her dial telephone back in the 1970´s. We still sussed out how to make a call. We could dial numbers by hitting the two black buttons underneath the receiver above the locked dial. She was clueless. Kids are clever.