Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Parenting By Paranoia?

For the "the world is changing" file:

I could make this a much better story if I gave you the details, but I have a policy of protecting my sons' privacy. I'll tell a story or here about them, if it is either flattering or neutral, but I generally don't get into anything too personal. I respect them and I have respected them since the day they were born. I have a feeling (or at least a fervent hope) that this respect will be sensed and returned as they get older...

Anyway, I will let this post suffer in quality by not giving you the details, for that reason. Let it suffice to say that one of my sons is in a position in which he is being teased. (No big alarm, here -- it happens; I'm not going to call in the SWAT teams, as is the policy, now, in American schools.) I gave him advice. I pointed out that I think what he sees as his friends having fun with him is actually them setting him up for ridicule. You'd agree, I think, but we will have to leave it at that.

Despite the low alarm nature of this, last night it was mentioned that one of his friends is video taping. It's nothing criminal. It's just something silly. But you know how cruel kids are, without video-taped evidence of goofiness.

Will someone help me with this? Here I go again feeling sorry that I brought kids into this world. How do you explain to kids the dangers of social media and of the attached lack of privacy? Worse, how do you convince them it is a problem in a world in which they are growing up? -- in which (at least, to me) nightmarish surveillance is the norm?

Did you know there is a site out there on which one can post pictures and the names and addresses  of people who send indiscreet pictures via smart phone? (How can this be legal?) It's insane. It's a platform for angry ex-boyfriends and girlfriends to get revenge and it is not taken down. (If you are thinking about going the free-speech route in defense of this site, do me a favor and stop reading my blog. Really.)

How do you raise your kids to be wary of this without making them paranoid? Or is it simply  necessary, nowadaysto make them paranoid?

What I need to do is to, somehow, instill in my boys the idea that their privacy is precious. If we can't do that to the younger generations, who have no reason whatsoever -- based on the current social philosophies --  to believe that it is, then, once we pre-online people are gone, there will be no one to fight the fight.

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