“Kids these days have no respect.”

“My dad would have whipped my ass for that.”

“When I was a kid….”

Two recent events, and the reaction of adults on social media got me thinking about this.  First, the now infamous dad shooting his daughter’s laptop after her facebook rants were discovered and last week the picture of a 13yr old who was grounded from her accounts for posting pics her mother told her not to.  Are kids today really worse?

As a mother of two teens, parent sponsor for youth groups and a substitute teacher (aka lowest respected adult in creation) for 10 years, I have a pretty good grasp on the “goodness” of teens.

I think we…the adults…have forgotten the crap we did or saw our friends do.  I can remember being mortified hearing the rebellious older brother of my best friend yelling at their parents.  Thank God he didn’t have facebook!  I was the master of passive aggressive.  I would NEVER speak out loud or tag the side of a building, I would however, leave a trail of my belongings through any space I occupied.  Or close myself in my room refusing to have any interaction with the family at all.

What would the rebels without a cause or summer of love children have done with twitterbookspace?  Driven their parents more insane?

The kids today aren’t worse.  They only have a more public place to act up or out, and better tools to do it with.  Just like the immediate news coverage, the instant access to the world via the web, we know everything our kids do and share.  Gone are private diaries or whispered secrets to friends.  Now they blog and update statuses.   Remember a few years ago the Texas cheerleaders who went to the “adult toy store”, took pics of themselves in uniform playing with the toys and then posted them on their MySpace pages???  I can EASILY see my friends doing something similar given the access to a toy store and social media….we simply didn’t have those things 25 yrs ago.

And while we (yes I’ve done it too) point fingers condemning the youth, let’s not forget the things said about us.  Baby boomers rebelling against the “greatest generation” who became Hippies rebelling against everything.  I’m not sure what the 70s were called but it’s safe to say they had acting out issues too…. Punk Rock anyone? Generation X….generation nothing…generation no goals, ambition, future.  Thanks for the vote of confidence, I turned out ok and so did most of my peers.  We’re not very bad parents either.

It often feels as though we are playing a cosmic game of poker.  I’ll see your smoking and drinking and raise you war protests, drugs, sex and rock-n-roll.  Call and raise Ecstasy, suicide music, guns in school, sexting AND all of it captured or done on cell phones….

I do wonder if we have done a disservice to our kids with the golden calf of technology? It’s amazing how much of the world is at their fingertips.  Information, culture, educational opportunities….and how much of our children are at the fingertips of the world.  A world which does not have their best interest at heart.

In order to see nekkid (as opposed to naked) pictures and movies we and every generation before us had to sneak into our creepy uncle’s closet or get the a fore mentioned BFF’s big brother to rent us a dirty movie.  Today….they only need a cell phone.  A PHONE!  It’s terrifying to follow the bread crumbs and ask, what is needed to get to these kids????

Back in my day….I couldn’t share pictures of myself doing whatever mischief I was up to.  The pervs and pedophiles had to work to get to me then too. I wasn’t googleable.  I don’t believe these kids are worse.  I do believe we are too often, letting them, nay EXPECTING them to swim in deep, dangerous, shark infested waters, giving them only the same floaties our parents gave us expecting them to swim.  Then pointing the fingers in the wrong direction when our kids sink to to the bottom.