I read with interest a completely unsurprising story concerning a recent survey that states 70 percent of teens hide their online behavior from their parents. CNN reporter John D. Sutter, who wrote an online article focused on that particular statistic (and you can virtually hear the sarcasm implied), states, “Here’s a real shocker: Teens are better than their parents at using the Internet, and are likely to hide some of their online behaviors from them.”
Yeah, that’s a real “shocker,” all right.
The fact of the matter is this, parents now have even more responsibility when it comes to raising a child. And in many places across the country – so it seems – the bad numbers are up: increased numbers of sexual predators lurking amongst us; drugs and drug addiction; texting while driving motor vehicle accidents, many fatal; lower grades; less participation; partying hard at a younger age and the list goes on and on.
That texting while driving example, by the way, is one that must be taken seriously, considering more kids are dying in text-related accidents than in drinking while driving incidents.
Think about that one.
Granted, that’s not to say we don’t have some good kids out there, making their grades, graduating, heading to college and the future’s so bright I gotta wear shades (a big thank you to Timbuck3). It’s hard – if not impossible – however, to assume the good outweighs the bad. And the numbers don’t lie.
Sutter, in Monday’s article, goes on to pick apart the survey, noting that this hidden online behavior includes 43 percent of teenagers accessing violent websites; 32 percent pornographic sites; and 16 percent who said their cellphone had been used to cheat on a test.
Those numbers are not only disgusting, but a harbinger of things to come, if this issue is not addressed.
And parents, unfortunately (and in far too many cases), are in the dark, or so it seems.
The funny thing is, kids nowadays have the tools and resources to grow into one of our country’s more intelligent, most tech-savvy generations ever. Hell, there’s probably any number of six-year-old, kindergarten students that could give me a little tour of my smartphone, which is – and this is putting it mildly – much smarter than I am, apparently.
What can I say? When I was six I’d never heard of an app (or application, if you prefer), email (not to mention junk mail), the Internet, Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr (I still don’t really know what Tumblr is, to be honest), yet these kids not only grow up with all of this technology, they’re introduced to it at an extremely young age.
The message is really quite simple; you wouldn’t let your 16-year-old son or daughter drive the car without first instructing them as to its use, the consequences of any improper operation or warning them of the many dangers that can be found out on the road. Would you? Then why do so many parents seem to turn a blind eye to the many – very real, I might add – dangers out there in Internet-land?
Is it pure laziness, in which case we deserve – as a community – exactly what we get? Or is it simply ignorance, which, as they say, is bliss.
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