Monday, October 15, 2012

With so much pressure to go online, "the kids are not all right"

Newsweek, Oct. 15, 2012, has an interesting story by Lee Siegel,  “The Kids Aren’t Alright: The perils of parenting in a digital age”.  I grate when I don’t see “all right” spelt the way I was taught in grade school!. The Daily Beast has a copy of the article here

All of this discussion comes forth as Facebook announces it has one billion users, and Mark Zuckerberg becomes president of the world (in the eyes of extraterrestrials, at least).  And Facebook talks about formally allowing users under 13 onto its site. It’s pretty hard to stop them now, unless you’re Michelle Obama or have her skills as a mother.

The biggest concern might not be online predators (COPA blog, Oct. 12) or even direct cyberbullying, or even the “online reputation” issue where people lose jobs or at least job opportunities because of what they posted online as teens (or even what people posted about them).

The biggest problem seems to be that kids are virtually “forced” to become “socialized” online before they learn to deal with people in the real world.

When I was in high school (1958-1961) my social life seemed low key to many (I did not go to the Prom), but I valued the people I ran around with, and not a single one ever got into trouble or disappointed me.  My hypercritical attitude about people and tendency to measure them based on what I could “see” would later become a sore point in therapy, as I have discussed before.  But in our environment, you could run around with those you wanted to and could ignore the physical bullies, who had no power.

My own attitude toward people ("upward affiliation") became seen as a moral issue itself. Today, we might see dependency of some people (like me)for existential purpose on a medium that invites abuse by others (particularly of minors) in such a collective way, as a moral issue.  That's one reason why Section 230 might be in trouble. 

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