The internet and children–it’s a touchy subject.

Currently, it’s a labyrinth that parents navigate for their young children, resulting in various moral viewpoints from Booba1234 (David Devore) who felt comfortable posting the infamous David After Dentist video and then selling merchandise once the video hit it big, to many internet users who refuse to even discuss their children over public forums.

It seems that the typical blogging parent refers to their child by some sort of silly nickname, and, if they post pictures, either blot out the child’s eyes or post only pictures in which you can’t see said child’s face.  (There are some bloggers that take the time to make up a nickname for their children, then post pictures clearly depicting them, but this logic confuses me so I won’t discuss it.) My question is, “Is this necessary?”

Clearly there are dangers on the internet–dangerous people, dangerous situations, and I doubt many people want to become a childhood internet meme. However, before the internet, all these dangers were just as real. We simply felt safer about them. In fact, in some ways the internet has actually made our children safer. Thanks to the National Sex Offender Registry, for instance, you can now research and find out if your neighbor is a sex offender. Once upon a time, you couldn’t do that, and we all lived in 1950’s housewife-ignorant bliss.

Facebook is, perhaps, the best example of our changing attitudes toward the internet. Since it’s humble beginnings for Harvard students, the social network has become increasingly public. Every time FB changes its privacy settings the old fogy twenty-somethings go ape shit, yet the teenagers don’t seem to care. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg stated that the reason for the constant privacy changes is because, “People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people. That social norm is just something that has evolved over time.”

As evidenced by Jessi Slaughter, teenagers should not be making large, life changing decisions involving the internet. It’s in their nature to make stupid decisions, but as far as the public world of the internet goes, what is somewhat scary to us is simply normal to them. Similarly, I am not afraid to go out of my house at night or go to the mall alone, because I was not raised to be. When I was young and went to these places, I was under the protection of my parents. When I got older, they eventually let me go alone, armed with the common sense and good decision-making skills they taught me. The internet is the same way.

It may be that little Emily, whose mother is a blogger, will emerge no more screwed up than my friend Kristy, whose mother wrote a parenting article for a magazine when she was a child. She is now a successful, smart, capable adult, and her mother didn’t feel the need to refer to her as “pookie-face.”

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