I was having a conversation the other day and someone commented on how awful it must be to be a teenager in the world of Facebook. I love Facebook and credit it (partially) with many of my opportunities of the last few years. I have reconnected with some absolutely fantastic people, and connected more deeply with others as a result of this addictive website. I'm a self-diagnosed Facebook addict. It's chronic.
Yes, I love Facebook NOW, but I cannot imagine my high school years being this connected to my friends and enemies of the moment. Life can already change in the blink of an eye when you're in high school, switching alliances and best friends faster than the cafeteria menu changes features. Knowing my BFF hung out with my mortal enemy and being able to see photographic evidence, seeing pictures of my biggest crush hanging out with the class slut, having my friends make comments on photos that I was already insecure about - it's all just too much.
Facebook has really only taken hold within the last few years and it truly has changed the world and the way we connect with others. My kids are years away from becoming teenagers, and I can only imagine the technological and sociological advances we will have seen by then. (Actually, I can't imagine them, which is why I will never be worth $50 billion dollars.) What gadgets and gizmos will be available to our children in the year 2020? How will kids interact? One a side note, it drives me crazy when I see kids plugged in to their game or music devices, not talking to their friends or family. Mr. Awesome and I have made an agreement that although our kids may have those items one day, they will not "plug in" during family time. Luckily, our kids already seem to love watching the world go by (with a running commentary from the little man) on road trips, so we haven't even had to invest in a sanity-saving DVD player for the vehicles. But I digress.
I am truly fearful about the challenges that will come with raising teens. The world is such a different place now and I know how hard I found it back then. And it's not just technology. For years people have been up in arms about the effect music will have on the impressionable young. From Elvis' hypnotic hips to Britney Spears' barely-there outfits and evocative lyrics, "adults" have worried about their children being led into temptation just by hearing this music. I used to think these arguments were ridiculous, but I hate to admit it, I fear I am now one of these adults.
I'm torn, because I have a very clear memory of singing the 1987 Paul Lekakis hit "Boom Boom (Let's Go Back to My Room)" in front of my mum (I was 12) and being told that it "wasn't a very nice song." I didn't really know what I was singing about, but I'm pretty sure most 12 year olds today would know what "so we can do it all night" means. Scary, but true.
So there I am, loving my new mix and keeping a good 4.1-4.2 pace on the treadmill when Enrique Iglesias' song "I Like It" comes on. And about 30 seconds in, I hear these lyrics:
(From "I Like It" by Enrique Iglesias, featuring Pitbull)
Girl, please excuse me
If I'm coming too strong
But tonight is the night
We can really let go
My girlfriend's out of town
And I'm all alone
Your boyfriend's on vacation
And he doesn't have to know
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! It's bad enough to think about young kids singing about sex like it's no big deal, but adultery? That cutie patootie Enrique is encouraging the screaming girls that swoon over him to cheat on their boyfriends and/or be the other woman enabling a man to cheat? Suddenly this is okay behaviour? And it's not just the kids, it's ANYONE that listens to his music. On what PLANET did he or his manager think that was a good idea for his image?
Needless to say the song did not live long on my playlist. Now I'm all riled up again. I need to calm down.
The best thing we can do is be the best parents we know how to be, talk openly with our kids, and pray to GOD that they come out of the teenage years in one piece. No problem, right?!
Although I do worry about the ridicule the little man might face if he's still dropping pants bombs at the age of 14.
Don't laugh. It could happen.