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Kids on the internet

2014/08/22

This comment on Youtube caught my eye: “OK, I’m 11 and I didn’t understand more than half of that” [edited for punctuation]. Trust an 11 year-old to open up for attack by leaving unnecessary comments on the internet, I thought. This kid needs to be told politely and in no uncertain terms to get the hell off the internet before the trolls show up and eat her (I think that it was a her) alive. So I asked, “If you’re 11, you’re a little young to be using the internet, aren’t you?” Her response was, and this has been slightly edited in the interest of coherence: “No, WTF makes you think that? So now you’re saying that I shouldn’t be using the Internet, I swear that there is something wrong with you, mind your own business, stay out of my life, ’cause I got this.” My gut reaction was, “YOUNG LADY, YOU DO NOT TALK TO YOUR MOTHER LIKE THAT.” Because when people talk back like they would their mother, I pick up on the script.

Anyway, this kid is clearly not mature enough to be allowed on the internet. A lot of 18-and-older-s are just as bad but if they want to say something stupid, they’re old enough to make that decision. Not that I was trying to make any decisions for this particular kid but for the parents, you guys need to be parents. My kid sister mouths off a lot. When she does it out loud, my dad has this thing that he likes to say, “Every time you think that you’re being smart, you’re probably doing something stupid.” When she does it online, I’m the cyber parent so I annoy her with lectures and threaten to block off sites (which I don’t because then at least I can kind of monitor her activities).

Parents and teachers need to stop telling kids how smart they are just because they know their way around smartphones and things. I agree that seniority can be utter bullshit when someone is older but less capable or less clever but kids are way too arrogant these days. My generation has a lot of douche-y people but if you look at today’s elementary school kids or even high school kids, they really think that they’re all that.

But it’s far too late to fix most of the parents and teachers, and principals and vice principals and school counselors. The reality is that arrogant kids don’t believe what you tell them unless they’ve learned it the hard way. Even if you try to raise your own kid right, she’s got her little friends at school influencing her. Not all of us can be Helena Bonham Carter with our 12.75-inch unyielding dragon heartstring and walnut wand, scaring away the kids that we don’t want around ours. So we need workshops for adults who are active on the internet on how to effectively convince obnoxious underage users that they need to mind their own business before they have permission to tell us to mind our own business. How do you teach a kid to think before they type? I guess that this kind of project would require some field research.

Side thoughts: kids are arrogant off the internet as well. I see them dressed to the nines to seem twice their age, either acting bored with everything or trying to mingle with the 20-something-s and 30-something-s, laughing like they get what we’re talking about. My kid sister has the gall to tell me that I don’t have an fashion sense when I in fact do have an eye for what looks both good and appropriate (appropriate for age, occasion, et cetera). I just feel really, really uncomfortable about wearing anything nicer than nice jeans (comfortable without being hideous) and a thinner cotton shirt than usual.

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