Parents: keeping psychotic fears alive and well in the new millenium.


Wow. I just finished watching a Frontline report titled Growing up Online. It delved into the various aspects of a generation who’s always had the internet and the various dangers they face in a new digital world. All the old familiar fears that the media has been bellowing at the top of their lungs since the first high school kid logged onto the first chat room back before social networking sites ruled the planet. Will your kid leak photos that make them look like the jackass they are? Will they find porn and become weirdos who make the Jergens stock skyrocket in value? Will predators find your kid, become obsessed with them and abduct them to take back to their kiddie porn dungeons? Can the internet make your kid worship Satan and commit suicide while binging and purging, drinking underage, and breaking national copyright laws?

It was basically an entire hour of conservative suburban parents freaking out for no reason. And I stayed to watch every second. Now there were some good points about safety on the internet. One kid ended up hanging himself because he was being bullied, online and off, and he hooked up with another suicidal kid who basically showed him online tutorials for how to kill yourself, and even encouraged him to end everything. That sucks. I’m sure that is a devastating event in any parents life. But the internet was at most a catalyst for a depressed kid with serious problems he was trying to deal with. The problem wasn’t that there are sites that show you how to kill yourself. The problem is that the kids in his school were making his life a living hell, and no one stood up for him. Life’s a bitch.

Likewise, an anorexic girl who went online to network with other anorexic females. She found sites promoting and glamorizing eating disorders, and lots of other people who had the same baggage she had. The internet did not cause this. Neither did television. The fact is that our entire society is pretty fucked up. Every kid faces a mountain of pressure and stress that other generations just plain didn’t experience. Going through high school almost all my friends were fucked in the head one way or another. If they weren’t raped or molested as kids, then they burned and cut themselves. If they didn’t have an eating disorder, their parents beat them. Everyone got bullied. Everyone got picked on and treated like shit. Not just a few loners, the vast majority. And trying to blame these things on the internet is not only retarded as hell, but it completely ignores the actual source of the problems: real life bull shit.

Guess what, I’ve got problems too. I suffer from depression. I have a serious drinking problem. I’m socially awkward and insecure and I poke my fat in the mirror just like everyone else. And I have to deal with my shit without going overboard just like everyone else. But none of my problems have jack shit to do with the internet.

The best part of the program though was when they interviewed this suburban PTA mom from Jersey. I felt so sorry for her kids. She was overbearing and overprotective in a way that truly creeped me out. She only allowed one computer in the house, and it was in the kitchen, where she could hover and watch as her kids tried to surf the net and talk to their friends in peace. And she had the balls to get pissed about the fact that they were shutting her out. Maybe this will explain why.

One of her sons went to a concert at Madison Square Gardens with a bunch of his friends. While they were out, a lot of the students got wasted. There was photos and video posted on MySpace the next day, and some vigilant asshole let the Nazi Mom know about it. She was appalled. There were kids passed out, and kids puking, and kids generally having a kick ass time going to a concert with their friends in NYC. So this bitch sends an email to every parent in the school. Mayhem ensues, and now her kids accuse her of ruining their high school lives. And she’s all choked up because they are shutting her out. Well no shit Sherlock. You think that helped them get along better with the people they have to see every day? You know what happens to narcs in school? Bitches get stitches, that what.

Maybury doesn’t exist. Leave it to Beaver is not how America is, never really was. Kids drink now. Kids do shit you didn’t do, or maybe did do and don’t want to admit. My parents think they know all about how my life is because they listened to the Who and smoked weed while their parents were still listening to Pat Boone and Harry Bellafonte. But quite frankly I’ve done and seen things they never even had to think about when they were young. I’m not always proud of what I’ve done, I honestly have done some rotten, gnarley, dangerous, rebellious shit. But partying and rebelling doesn’t make you a bad kid. It makes you a normal kid questioning the values you’ve been presented in life.

Now her kids won’t even get online at their own home because their mom is so controlling, they can’t even have a private conversation with their friends. All this in the name of internet safety and parental responsibility? Fuck that. Her kids aren’t ten years old. They are in their late teens. Not babies, but half grown adults. You can’t force an adolescent kid to let you listen in on every phone conversation, read every email, and let you shake it off when they take a piss. Of course they will shut you out of their life. You’re fucking it up. Teens need some freedom to become individuals. Restricting their personal freedom will only make them push you and your psychotic rules out of their life, or worse, stunt their social development so much that you have adult children running around asking mommy to help them with everything. Double fuck that.

And when the kids were interviewed, they pretty much said their mom was a fucking idiot. Every single kid they talked to said they knew not to tell people where they lived. Every single one said they deleted and blocked creepy sexual advances. And you know if even one kid had admitted to talking to predators online, they would have put it in the program, because fear sells. Even the experts they interviewed agreed that the threat of predators online has been blown out of proportion. They said that in most of their studies, there was much less sexual advances than they expected. And in addition to that, most of the advances were not the sort of creepy big fat hairy guy in a basement that people associate with internet predators. Mostly it was the nineteen year old hitting on the seventeen year old, which honestly shouldn’t be against the law anyway. Not that I want to hook up with young chicks, but honestly, a two year difference is not a big deal. In fact, in my state, it isn’t illegal. The age of consent is sixteen, with a four or five year age difference limit until you turn 18 and become a legal adult.

But forget my legal tangent. My point is that I understand that there are dangers online. I know this. But I also know that if you just explain this shit to your kids, they will probably protect themselves very well. The internet has created a generation gap even wider than the previous ones. People no longer have to keep their families in the loop. Kids can log on and tune out their parents while interacting with people across the world. My generation is comfortable in a digital world that the previous one is struggling to adapt to. But you gotta trust your kids to know the right thing to do. Kids aren’t stupid. Wait no, kids are stupid, but they know how to behave online so stop flipping out. Just think, you are more likely to crash your car and kill them than they are of being abducted by an online predator*.

(*not actual statistic, conjured from thin air to prove point)

The internet can be a beautiful technology. I know it’s opened up a lot of new things for me. I’ve made friends across the globe. I’ve found new hobbies. I am constantly learning new exciting things about the world that I never would have if it weren’t for the internet. I am probably going to make a career working on the internet one day. So mothers, love your kids, but release the strangle hold. It’s really not necessary. Talk to your kids. Find out what’s going on in their life. But don’t smother them or they will turn out like me. They will get pissed and reject everything you’ve ever taught them, eventually sprinting to hell.

***********

I wrote this a few weeks ago and wanted to come back and add a little bit about the general vulgarity of the internet that makes me chuckle every day. Anyone out there who has a WordPress blog (WordPress is the best, switch now) will know about your blog stats. It’s a fun side page that lets you know a little about the traffic you blog is getting. My particular favorite is the “Search Engine Terms” section which shows you all the terms people have somehow used to find your blog. Now for me, almost every visitor I get has come here looking for either drugs and alcohol, or something sexual. Hands down, 95% of my visitors. And this is every single day. I took a screen shot yesterday just to kind of give you an idea.

You’ll notice the only two searches that weren’t about drugs or sex were “retarded daughter”, which is hilarious, and “DONKEYS” which is kind of weird. Hell, just today I got eight hits for “how to put cock in butt without hurting”. Eight freaking hits. Apparently there’s a lot of people out there who have never heard of Crisco. And “how to find weed at burning man”? Really? Try closing your eyes, spinning in a circle, and asking the first person you see if they have some to sell. Odds are they won’t but they will instead dose you on acid and give you a sweet discount on peyote infused X. Dumbass. I’ve kept a list of all the results that stood out for one reason or another. Here’s just a few selections from said list:

“fun to swear”

gas motor vibrations clit

spicy coon/coon pussy

Wendy farts a lot/broccoli farts/donkey fart/shit locker

man accidentally fucking donkey (as if that’s even possible you dip shit)

pwn3d

make someone look like they are on fire

TO TOLERANT WILL BRWNIES GET M HIGH

let me tell you why he should be the emp (a double whammy. Both insanely long for a search and completely nonsensical)

Best stuff to do when high on weed/doctors who smoke weed/how much weed can one person smoke/do vegetarians smoke weed (I don’t know, ask Em)

“baby oil”

real life she hulks

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23 responses to “Parents: keeping psychotic fears alive and well in the new millenium.

  1. Damn, I’m almost ashamed to say that I found you the normal way, through Back nine’s and All and Sundry’s blogs.
    I do love it that you know how to spell gnarly, and agree with you totally about the internet and kids. You gotta tell them first though, don’t just assume they’ll know that someone might hit on them, or offer to fly them somewhere, or give them money from Nigeria, and what to do if that happens.
    It’s a freakshow out there everyday, no matter whether you are online or not.

  2. I too found you in a normal way, through Sundry’s blog. I used to look through her comments for yours because they were as awesome as her blog.

    And I just have to say, WORD. Kids are cruel as hell and it has nothing to do with the internet. I was teased for years in middle school because of the largeness of my breasts and that had nothing at all to do with the internet. It had to do with the guys in my class being assholes and liking it when they got me so upset that I would go home crying my eyes out. It finally took me getting the worlds largest chip on my shoulder and becoming a major bitch for them to stop. I sort of became a bully, I guess you could say, although I never teased or pushed anyone around, I just became someone that everyone was scared off because of said chip. It took awhile but I finally got rid of that chip and am now a pretty good person I think. However I still am not okay with my body and I know it’s because of the constant teasing in Middle School. Kids are totally awesome, huh? And sorry for the long ass comment. šŸ™‚

  3. Donna: Yes, most of the actual commenters have found me through “legit” means. And aren’t you old? Didn’t you say you were a GILF or something? I distinctly remember you saying that you were old. Anyway, the fact that you know how to spell gnarly is much more impressive. And I agree with your point. It is very important to educate kids about what a fucked up world we live in and what sort of dangers they face. That is the responsibility of every parent, and should not be taken lightly. But I was just saying that some (many) parents take it too far and don’t give their children the credit they deserve. Despite what the average drive down any interstate would suggest, most people are not retarded. In fact, once aware of the dangers online, most kids seem to protect themselves better than the generation before them. It’s a whole different ball game today.

    Allie: You are too kind. I’m so glad you came over here to check STH out. I’m not sure how huge boobs became a bad thing, but I am sorry people picked on you for it. I myself had terrible acne. Not just on the face, but also the chest and back. Yes, bacne. Not cool. And I kind of hoped it would go away when I hit eighteen, but it turns out that I’ve got the adult kind that never ever goes away. Bummer for me. But let me assure you that I know how shitty middle school can be for the unfortunate majority. You are always welcome here on STH.

  4. Another well-written post today, Josh.

    I came from a time where kids didn’t get unduly picked on (I graduated h.s. in 1967, so yeah, I’m officially “old”). I had a great time in school. Yes, I was shy, and I felt uncool and homely and everything else that kids feel. I was elected H’coming princess, tho… so what-the-hell? What we think of ourselves and what others think are sometimes not in sync. I thought it was great that the ones who I thought were so cool and hip turned out to be normal people with problems and extra pounds and saggy jaws just like everybody else when I saw them 25 years later at a reunion. Life is a great equalizer!

    We tried very hard not to be super restrictive of our children. It’s a hard task to raise kids but we did our best to be supportive and give them room to grow up. We were there to root for them, pat them on the back, and make them aware of the bad stuff. We respected their privacy, which is a biggee for me. I refused to go looking through their rooms and didn’t sweat the small stuff. They tried some shit, of course, and they got caught, and they were punished. I saw all kinds of parenting back in the day, and some was downright horrific. I enjoyed my kids for who they were, not what I thought they SHOULD be. Ya just can’t put a round peg in a square hole, y’know?

    I came here from your comments on Sundry. Damn, I wish I had the imagination to google some of the crap you are seeing. heh heh

  5. P.S. Oh, and Josh? Millennium is spelled with two Ls and two Ns. I know it looks better/right with only one N. Ok, cool.

  6. Yes I motherfuckin’ do smoke weed! And yeah, the whole Dr. Phil thing is getting out of control. I mean, sure, I had to have a hard-ass heart-to-heart with my dad recently with the whole “I’m an adult now and you will show me the same friggin’ respect you expect blah blah blah blah blah.” But that pretty much comes up in everyone’s life. And he’s done a good job. Sure he gave me a few drug talks when I was a kid, and makes no secret that he’s lost a few friends to heavier shit (roadie life and all that jazz), but he knows I smoke pot and lets me make that decision. What he essentially did and what most parents should do (and this is going to sound sappy, I totally got this from “Don’t sweat the small stuff” or “Life’s little handbook” or something like that but it’s totally true) is he handed me a roadmap to life – he didn’t try to fucking pave the way for me! Those kids in university whose parents bought their fucking groceries for them are going to get their ass kicked the moment they graduate. If not by life, then by ME!

    Kids are going to screw up. Parents, you screwed up too. Sure, your kids are screwing up in ways that are new and scary to you. But you screwed up in ways that were new and scary to your Pat Boone listening parents. And everyone learns from it. And if your kid ends up in a gutter shooting heroin, it may or may not be your fault. Sometimes people just have broken brains, and all you can do is let them know that the minute they are willing to get help, you’ll be there, right? See? I’m right about everything.

    Oh, and cheer up about the depression, I know how much it sucks. I’m in a decent mood as of late, but apparently I’m still a certifiable looney! w00t!

  7. Yes Josh, totally a gilf! I had a guy in one of my classes call me a cougar, and I laughed and told him he only wished cause I could teach him a few things, threw him a two in the pink, one in the stink, and he freaked. It was a good day, and taught him some respect for his elders, hmmph!
    My boy gets high, which I’d rather he do than drink, it’s not as addictive, and my daughter is a stay at home mom, who spends too much money on shit but thinks her bro is the screw up because he gets high. They are both happy with their lives, and I didn’t try to tell them what to do with them after they hit about 16, which is not to say that I don’t give them advice when asked. More importantly, they are both good parents, very involved with their kids, and are good, kind people.
    I cannot stand Dr. Phil, that guy just sticks in my craw. As for depression, I’ve been on prozac for years, only because I have a job I hate, but will retire from in 2010 if I don’t kill someone first. It’s a necessary evil.
    Sundry is having a baby today!!! That’s always cool!

  8. Belle: Hoo boy, graduated in ’67? So you’re an old hippie I guess, or not a hippie at all, since I suppose hippies were just one sub culture in society. But whatever, I now imagine you as Janis Joplin, or maybe that chick from Jefferson Airplane if you don’t want to be an ugly hippie. (no offense to Joplin’s ghost, the last thing I need is a grudge haunting)

    I’m sure raising kids is incredibly hard at times. I’m glad I haven’t started yet, and I respect the effort parents have to put in. It sounds like you had a pretty cool parenting approach. I’m not here picking on any parents (except the ones on the show) because God knows if I have a daughter, I just might be a tad bit (psycho) protective. I’m sure it will be interesting watching me try and raise kids, and hopefully I’ll have the sense of humor to sit back and laugh at myself when they make life hard on me. Because if karma exists, my kids are going to be god awful hellions. I also enjoy seeing people from high school who turned out to be fat or boring. It makes me feel good inside, mostly because I’m at least half evil. Thanks for the lookout on millennium, I hate it when I spell things wrong.

    Em: Absolutely, I agree with everything. Even the sappy ass road map part. Kids are going to screw up. Lord knows I did. Fortunately, even though my parents started off waaaaay too controlling, they’ve mellowed out a lot, and have done an excellent job in being patient with me while I struggled through my alcohol problem. That is something that they didn’t contribute to at all. It’s just the way I am, nature not nurture I suppose. Now that I’m an adult I can look back on my life and appreciate all the things they did really well, which is a lot. And don’t worry about the depression, I can handle it. I’m thinking about going to see a doctor to see if I can get some mood stabilizers or something to control the wicked mood swings. I just hate doctors, so I’m procrastinating. I figure if I made it this far without seeing a shrink I hate to ruin my perfect record. We’ll see.

  9. Donna: Holy shit I completely forgot about Sundry’s baby! I’m so excited. I’m gushing like one of those flamers from Queer Eye. I’m such a dork sometimes. I can’t wait to see the purple little devil. Babies come out purple right? Sort of purple I think. Anyway, I’m siked out.

    A cougar, that’s priceless. And you busted out the shocker? Snap! I’ve got a crazy punk rock friend who got a full back tattoo featuring the shocker. I’ll have to tell you guys about her some time, she was wild.

  10. All I can say is research your shit, dude. There are way too many crap ass doctors out there. You should know everything about medication before you go in. And you should give it a couple of weeks before saying yay or nay to any type of medication (I’m a total hypocrite here…two weeks of Celexa and I was like “My teeth won’t stop chattering! My hair is made of razors! No no no no no!!!” But Zoloft worked pretty well for a few months.) I don’t know how it works down in the states, but you don’t necessarily need to see a shrink to get mood elevators. Your family doctor should be able to prescribe them. Also, keep in mind that depression is sometimes just a symptom of a bigger underlying problem. If you start keeping track of when you get really pissed off (especially if it’s probably over something little) you might notice some trends. Plus, you don’t neccessarily have to like your doctor. As long as they get you fixed (in the brain sense, not the ball sense) then who cares?

  11. Em: Yeah. What you said. I don’t know about bigger underlying problems. Honestly that sounds like the sort of stuff I don’t really feel like dealing with. I think the mood swings are half way because I’m not drinking all the time any more, which causes drastic mood swings in many alcoholics, and because I am legitimately facing some pretty serious mountains of shit right now. I’m more inclined to do nothing and just deal with it. But it would be nice if there were some way to not feel quite so many highs and lows out of the blue. Sometimes it makes it hard to keep myself composed at work, or in social situations. I freak out randomly. I don’t know, I don’t think I’m going to do anything about it. If women can bleed out the love box and (usually) handle it, I should be able to deal with piddly ass mood swings. I’m a fucking man for Christ’s sake. I’m naturally bad ass.

  12. Wow….what an interesting post.

    That overbearing mom, haha….boy can I relate; I am way past my childhood years, and today my parents ask me: “why don’t you share anything with us? Why don’t we know anything about your life? How come you’re not close with us like those other kids? (at that point they mention Kid A we know, Kid B we know, Kid C we know…etc”

    And why?

    Really mom and dad…why?

    How ’bout because I grew up in a house where everything was forbidden?

    Obviously I had to take that shit outside…haha…seriously is that not common sense? Why do parents get all monkey-dumb when it comes to this one issue, but then they’re seemingly smart and functional in other areas of life?!?!?!

    Madness…

  13. Romi: Yeah. I reached a point a long time ago where I pretty much just completely stopped pretending I followed my parents morals. Now, in order to avoid this sort of situation where they feel I’m not sharing, I just tell them all the rotten shit I do. Well, mostly. Enough to keep it fresh in their mind that I do lots of crap they don’t approve of. It’s sort of a shock and awe approach to getting scolded for being bad. I think I finally wore them down to the point that they’ve practically given up. I only have to deal with guilt trips from them every so often now, instead of all the time.

    Heh heh heh. Monkey dumb, that’s a good one. I’m using that.

  14. I don’t know where “monkey dumb” came from; it was pretty spur of the moment; feel free to enjoy it, it’s a community-term! šŸ˜‰

  15. Bah. Bleeding out the lovebox is nothing. But it’s no fun having to worry about when your next freakout is going to be. I’m not pushing pills or anything (though I loved me my Zoloft while it worked) but doing nothing might be a bad idea….

    Community-term is also a good term! Others include ass-monkey, thong-dollaz, fucktard, etc.

  16. Oh! And I find that pushing fat people down the stairs on a regular basis does a lot to even you out. You know, get all that frustration at life out at once. Just don’t let anyone see you do it.

  17. I blame insanity on the suburbs. Think about it.

  18. Romi: Community term, also a good one. We’ll put them both in the communal word bank.

    Em: Thong dollaz? WTF?

    Talea: Yeah, the suburbs are kind of weird. This all goes back to my Alice in Wonderland theory, which I will share at a later date.

  19. i too found you through sundry’s comment section. i’ve been reading for a little while and enjoy your thought processes/humor.

    as a probably over-protective parent even i can say wtf? that woman was too overbearing, especially since she has older teenagers. parenting IS a challenge but i keep reminding myself that forbidding things (like my parents did) just made me want to do them all the more.

    my kids are still young (11 and 8) so i’m not worried about weed yet (though have realized i’ll have to find a better hiding place for mine soon) and frankly i would rather they smoked weed than drank.

    one thing i do know is that kids are much more hateful at a much younger age now than they were when i was a kid. or maybe it’s just because i’m a parent and it pisses me off to the millionth degree when someone fucks with my kids? i don’t know.

  20. C. Kerfuffle: I dread having to one day raise kids of my own. Who knows, I could well end up being overbearing and overprotective. Especially if I have daughters, which really scares the crap out of me. But her kids were doing well in school, weren’t habitually abusing drugs or alcohol, and they were almost legally adults. She was just bat shit crazy. I’d like to think my bat shit crazy parental freak outs won’t be as retarded as hers. Nice to hear from you Kfluff.

    Oh yeah, and kids are fucking evil as hell nowadays. Even compared to when I was in high school. More parents need to whoop their kids ass, or I’m going to have to start doing it for them.

  21. http://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=795

    Thong dollaz! This is my fave web comic. You’ll see Faye as my facebook avatar. She looks just like me and is equally sass-mouthed. Thong dollaz has since become a favourite term, and I plan to spread the joy far and wide. šŸ˜€

  22. Hmm, wondering about the Alice in Wonderland Theory.

    My parents were really strict and intransigent to boot, but I always thought that was more or less the parental condition. When I was little I wondered if my parents were actually mean stepparents or impostors, because there was no way my real parents could be this evil. Then when I got older I wished I had stepparents because my real parents were CLEARLY! EVIL! Finally I realized that I was stuck with my parents and they just happened to be assholes, evil ones. Now we get along fine, but I’m not trying to outmaneuver them anymore.

    Someone said parenthood is a bitch because it’s like your kids are on a constant suicide mission: as babies they’re always putting something up their nose or down their throat; then they’re older and become pyromaniacs, busily self-immolating and burning down the house at the same time; after that there’s drugs, and sex. And sex didn’t used to kill you (unless you got knocked up and then your life “ended”, but in a completely different way).

    I agree that the Jersey mom was a nutcase, but most parents are ok. I try to cut ’em some slack … it’s a jungle out there. That said, though, I’m with you 100% about more parents needing to whoop their kids’ asses; WTF is up with all the over- lenient parents and completely undisciplined kids??

  23. Em: Oh, I get it. I’ve actually seen that web comic before. I like it, and you do remind me a lot of that chick. She wasn’t based on you was she? She’s got the T&A and the sass.

    XCM: First of all, you get the word of the day award for intransigent, which I’ve never heard, but now love. And I can completely relate to your experience with your parents, except mine aren’t evil, they’re just very nicely wrong all the time. Too freaking nicely, something I didn’t inherit. I do try and cut parents slack, that program just set me off. And as far as whooping their kids asses, I have no idea why people don’t do it. My parents spanked the living shit out of me when i was younger. And not some hand spanking, I mean a big ass strip of oak that could break skin and leave bruises. And look at me, besides being an alcoholic criminal with zero dating skills, I turned out just fine. I’m kidding of course, but I’m spanking my kids for sure. They may not like it, but ass whoopins will straighten a kid out right quick.

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