Iíve heard it a million times. When a kid does something so stupid and asinine that you canít imagine how they could possibly survive to reach adulthood, someone will start making excuses, like ďkids will be kids.Ē Or one of a million other excuses that is meant to let them off the hook with little to no responsibility for their actions.
Letís forget for a minute that itís quite possibly the lamest excuse on the face of the earth. If I had pulled some of the stupid stunts that have been making the news recently, Iím pretty sure my parents wouldnít have let me off the hook with a shrug and a lame excuse. Instead maybe we should look at some of the kids weíre turning out in this country as a result of our indifferent attitude toward their behavior.
In the news this week, there was a story about a new trend amongst teenage kids. They drive to a fast food restaurant. They order a drink and when the kid in the drive-thru window hands it to them, they yell ďfire in the holeĒ and throw it at the poor employee standing at the window. Meanwhile another kid in the car videotapes the exchange so they could post it on the Internet.
Iíve said time and time again in the last few months that I donít think the Internet and the creation of sites like MySpace and YouTube have caused the ridiculous behavior that many teens and adolescents are exhibiting. It may be helping, but I donít think thatís the cause. At 25, I canít imagine that in the few years since I was a teenager that kids have been drastically changed by a few more years of exposure to a few web sites.
What I thought was a more telling sign of the times was the punishment the kids received. The punishment for the crime was to make a video apology and post it on YouTube. Not community service or jail time for harassing other young teens who have to work for a living. They were just forced to make an apology video. Wow, I bet that made them think twice.
I know teenagers are impulsive and do stupid things to impress each other, but as long as we continue to make excuses and hand out punishments that barely even qualify as punishment, their going to continue to do it. These kids wanted to publicize their stupidity, so I donít think a public apology is really going to phase them all that much. Now if they were forced to pick up trash on the side of the road maybe they would think twice about their actions.
The popularity of MySpace and YouTube has given kids a lot of opportunities to do stupid things. Itís encouraged doing outrageous things to impress your friends and peers, but it hasnít created the behavior, and maybe if there were more severe consequences for stupid behavior, we wouldnít see so many kids taking part.