The cat has been out of the bag for quite some time now. No, I am not referring to Juice (I think many of my readers know Juice by now but have yet to see a picture of her) but rather my prejudicial attitude towards all things Social Media despite some bouts of dissatisfaction with various issues such as quality and accuracy of content. Despite my unvoiced concerns to Mark Zuckerberg (he of Facebook fame) who is the main focus of my uneasiness. As for the other members of this engaging have post will post club they don’t have the glitz, glamor, or potential to anger or annoy as Facebook does.
Lately, I have reading my articles by some very bright and talented (albeit with short memory’s) people who are aghast in horror as in their eyes the Social Media monster has somehow invaded the minds of children (your children, my children, whose children) to the point that these youngsters have a heightened sense of self-entitlement (we used to call it being a brat or in some cases spoiled rotten by their parents) or want instant or fast cash while not wanting to work for it or another form of immediate need for instant gratification which was known back in the day as “but I need it now. I can’t wait!”
Does anybody remember or have played Attari? What about the Air Jordan era where parents were coerced into buying these overpriced sneakers that wore out just as fast as Keds (remember them?) simply because Michael Jordan had a mega-million dollar endorsement deal that jacked up the prices of these sneakers into the triple digit zone.
Of equal concern is that kids (we still don’t know whose kids) become so transfixed on their computer or cell phone screens where they are texting or playing games so intently that if mom or dad where to be abducted by Martians they would notice until they either got hungry or their little hearts were in dire desperate need of something else that their friends have that they sadly do not have because their uncaring parents (meant sarcastically) would not buy it for them for one illogical reason (to their thinking) or another. Does anybody remember or have played Atari? What about the Air Jordan era where parents were coerced into buying these overpriced sneakers that wore out just as fast as Keds (remember them?) simply because Michael Jordan had a mega-million dollar endorsement deal that jacked up the prices of these sneakers into the triple digit zone. Not to mention they had to have the most up to date version which was essentially no different than the version that came before except these cost even more. Can you say $200?
Moving on to yet another issue that this as of yet unconquerable or uncontrollable enemy has led to chaos which is kids no longer go out to play because of their computers or cell phones won’t let them. Change the name of the villain to TV and it is the same thing. Little Leagues (my 32-year-old son who is a Facebook and former WarCraft Game Addict is in a softball league that has games every Sunday) still exist with no shortage of players. There is, however, a shortage of fields that are in playable condition. Bikes are still sold and kids are still riding them. The streets are not barren wastelands where children use to run, jump, skip and hop but no longer do so. Kids still go outside to engage in these activities with their friends but due to the fact that neighborhoods have become so spread out, it is possible your child’s friend does not live nearby hence the need for the “play date” so the parents do not make a trip for nothing. My son (yes him again) went on many play dates when we lived in the suburbs of New York City. No, there was no internet then but if you didn’t live on “that block” socialization was an issue.
So here we are over 600 words into this article (or you can call it a rant if you should so desire) and not one of the many items on the lengthy laundry list of problems or dangers that Social Media has wrought on us has not been known by another name going as far back as to when I was a child. Though quite far from being free of one hazard or another Social Media because of its immense popularity in conjunction to its drawing power has become a very convenient and easy to hit target for those who chose to do so. You can create study after study (only a small random group can be studied making the results inconclusive ) to illustrate the dangers Social Media poses that may require Robert Muller to become involved. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is rescuing himself from this debate. Some amongst us have become so galvanized by this minuscule issue that we are ignoring the rape of our forests, rivers, lakes, streams and wildlife or the troubled Trump Administration who is starting to tread on very dangerous and almost uncharted waters not to mention our deteriorating educational system (never a strong point) under the misdirection of a tax-dodging Education Secretary by the name of Betsy DeVos who registers her boats out of the country but docks them in United States ports so she pockets the money she would have had to pay in taxes. Those millions of dollars can be put to good use.
Let me clarify some things for you. To start with you are more than entitled to your opinions including those that are contrary to mine. I am not of the mindset that I am always right and that everybody else is wrong. I have based this article on my life’s experiences, current experiences, observations, dialogues with different people and so forth. From that, I contend that much of the current negative dogma of the dangers of Social Media are blown way out of proportion. As I have been pointing out the concerns or complaints about Social Media (irrespect to the age groups using it) are the same ones that have been uttered for the longest time now.
Drug use amongst teens has seen spikes prior to the internet as has underage drinking. Traffic deaths attributed to drug or alcohol use amongst young people have been alarmingly high. Teenage violence was also on the rise, part of which was attributed to (rightfully or wrongfully) attributed to video games that contained graphically violent content including earning points for committing rape or murder in the game. These games sold like a hot stock on Wall Street in retail video game stores. Some of these games required an adult or a “responsible” person over the age of 18 to be with the person purchasing the game if they were under 18. Just like cigarettes as there was a strong will to purchase them they did find their way into the pockets of minors.
How bad of an influence on young people were the Beatles along with most of the music from that era thought to be? When the Beatles were first seen and heard on TV parents were wrought with horror, The long hair, the volume, the songs were all leading our teens down the path to anti-social/anti-societal behavior. By and large, that turned out not to be the case. Protest Folk Music (Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Joan Baez, and company) were teaching teens not to listen to the parents and to rebel. While this is one of the few things Social Media has not been accused of this was the process of scapegoating. I thought this was supposed to be limited to politicians.
Yes, I am keenly aware of the absurd behavior by some families or others of sending and receiving text messages while sitting right next to each other. Being able to effectively communicate in person is a critical skill to have. Can those who engage in the practice above do that or why they do this in the first place is something I have no why? Your guess is as good as mine I guess. Nobody can give exact numbers of all those who practice this. As kids when we had secrets to tell each other that we would pass notes under the table.
As parents, it is our responsibility to set limits (or disallow usage altogether if they feel it is harmful) as to the amount of time they can use the internet, when, what sites they can go along with all that other good stuff. Parental controls exist for this reason. If we as adults are going on pornographic websites to see this material (you used to have to buy them at your local newsstand) or look to engage with the men or women in person your credibility is shot. Worried about online gambling? It’s there for anybody to use it. OTB and Bookies used to take care of this. At last, I checked Las Vegas, Atlantic City (yes parents of small children go on vacations at these places with their children in tow) are hotbeds of gambling (legal of course) and prostitution. This has been the case for many years now.
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