There is a reason that many of us joke that we sure are glad that we were “young and dumb” before the advent of the internet and technology like smart phones with built in digital cameras, etc.
In my day, being “young and dumb” wasn’t the societal crime that it is made out to be today. Not because stupid things didn’t happen but mostly because no one knew about the ridiculous things that happened – well except for those few people, usually some friends, that were around at the time. Sure, there might have been rumors about what happened, but typically there wasn’t evidence of it. For many of us, were lucky if we had a 35mm camera which required actual film that you had to take to someone to be developed by some stranger…and if you were from a small town, maybe it wasn’t even a stranger. If you were really lucky, you might have had a Polaroid which gave you instant pictures! That was as close to “instant” as you got. Even then, unless you showed that particular picture to every single person in the entire school…not that many people knew that it even existed. And hidden videos…yeah, have you ever tried to take a “secret” video with a device that required a VHS and had to be carried on your shoulder? Bullying? Yeah, it existed…but at least then there were ways to get away from it. Indeed, while we may not have had all these new advances in technology, in a lot of ways, we were actually really lucky!
We didn’t have social media postings that spread like wildfire and fistfights that got caught on tape. We weren’t taking selfies and posting half naked pictures of ourselves for the general public to see and basing our self worth on “likes” and “shares.” More importantly, if we made a dumb mistake, we often had the typical punishment handed down from parents, the school, or maybe the authorities if it was more “drastic” but even then…very few knew about it and, generally speaking, it didn’t haunt you for the rest of your life. It wasn’t blasted on the internet for the whole world to see…forever. It’s made even worse by our current news media who pick up a story presumably for “ratings” and call it news…meanwhile the kids, and their futures, are really suffering. Indeed, back in the day kids could do dumb things, learn from their mistakes, and grow into respectable and responsible adults that have nothing more but stories to tell and wisdom to pass on to younger generations. Not anymore. Kids get the short end of the lesson learning stick…
Of course there is an exception to every rule…but generally speaking, kids (and adults) now have to be smarter and think ahead far more than ever before. As I discuss in Part 4 of my blog series of Fighting Fair on the Internet, not only could you be banned from usage of platforms, but you could get into fights, you could end up with creepy stalkers, you could have a run in with the law – both criminal and civil (even if you tell the truth), you could permanently be scared by something that can’t be removed, and you could lose out on wonderful opportunities – for jobs, college, volunteer organizations, and relationships…and over what? Some dumb shenanigan that you tried to pull or some other posting made by either yourself, or someone else – that can be haunting forever.
It is clear that times have changed. Drastically…and unless you are in a position to see and deal with all of the repercussions of what goes on, us adults may not even really know the full extent of what goes on and what can happen. After all, I myself was completely naive about many things until I got into the current area of law and career path that I am in. But I have seen a lot – and what I can tell you is that kids (and adults) need some serious education. I’m not just taking about not being a bully…but far beyond that!
Next Monday I will be giving a presentation to a fully body of High School students on internet use and the consequences of the same. I have been saying for a long time that education needs to happen now and I am pleased to start that process! If you have or know of a school or youth group that you think need to hear more about this topic, from someone who really understands and can present the information in an informative and entertaining way, consider sending that person this blog article or contact me. I am currently booking lectures for students (and adults) for 2016 through June 2017.
Until next time friends…
P.S. – If any of this resonates with you, or you agree with that I have said, please consider sharing this article and/or leave me a comment. I’d love to hear your feedback and/or about your personal experiences.
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