Parenting: Is Aol Worse Than TV?
June 6, 2000 11:32 PM   Subscribe

Parenting: Is Aol Worse Than TV? After reading this article my first reaction was "what an over-reaction," my second was "Do these parents think AOL is the only way to (not) access the internet?" (stolen from Robot Wisdom)
posted by Mick (12 comments total)
Well, the factual information seems correct. After all, how many flame wars have started because someone misread a sarcastic comment?

But it's the whole screechy "WE HAVE TO PROTECT THE CHILDREN!!!" tone that makes my skin crawl. Yuggh.

Raising a nation of cabbages...
posted by solistrato at 8:03 AM on June 7, 2000

I didn't find it screechy at all. It's just documenting the bleeding edge of one area of social change. How many parents have had to "ground" their kids from using the telephone? And up to a certain age, allowing them unrestricted access to the net is probably ill-advised.

And if they don't use AOL, there's always AIM ...
posted by dhartung at 8:37 AM on June 7, 2000

Yes, but the author of the article took the entire computer out of her daughter's bedroom. OK if you only have one computer, but if you have more than one, why not take away the Internet access instead? Why are people confusing computers with the Internet? Your kid can't get on AOL if there isn't any modem on the computer, or no phone line in the room.
posted by Electric Elf at 9:36 AM on June 7, 2000

I think the tone is a bit shrill because the author seems to think that gossip, malicious rumor-mongering, and deliberate insults are all new or somehow worse because of instant messaging. Obviously if they didn't have the 'net, the kids would just go back to slamming each other by phone and snubbing each other after school or in the lunch room.
I'm going to read into this a little: all these parents sound like overprotective suburbanites who probably don't let the kids out of their sight much, so of course the kids are taking advantage of the 'net to socially interact and get out from under their parents' thumbs. I love & respect my parents & always have, but from 12-18 I really felt the need to spend time apart from them-- how else can a kid find & define their own identity?
My biggest gripe, though: why is the choice only between TV and AOL? There are a million other things kids could do with their time, but those things might require parents to give them a little freedom, when obviously even the bare minimum of independence that these kids get to talk freely on the 'net is way too much for their uptight moms and dads.
posted by wiremommy at 9:44 AM on June 7, 2000

I think the article has its good points and its bad ones.

One thing I enjoyed was that the overall tone of it wasn't "The Internet Is Evil We Must Regulate It All" but rather that parents are responsible for their childrens' on-line activities.
posted by cCranium at 10:02 AM on June 7, 2000

What most of these kids need is a good swift kick in the ass so they'll go outside and learn about the world instead of staring at a computer screen all afternoon.
posted by Mr. skullhead at 10:43 AM on June 7, 2000

They should go outside, but Mom and Dad won't let them anymore. It's too dangerous.
posted by Electric Elf at 11:07 AM on June 7, 2000

"why is the choice only between TV and AOL?"

Because these are things that can be done at home while retianing the social aspect teenagers crave, without the parents having to drive the kids somewhere. Most of these kids would probably rather spend time actually interacting with the individuals they are messaging (note that mostly, it's friends from school that they communicate with), but if they can't drive or don't have a car, they're out of luck.
posted by daveadams at 11:15 AM on June 7, 2000

Whooo, big news - kids form little vicious social groups that like to gossip, prattle, connect, break up, and play status games! On the INTERNET! Geez, people, what did you THINK they were doing when they spent six hours at the mall with their friends? These parents are getting all upset about something that has happened as long as schools have existed, and will continue to happen as long as they continue to exist; the only difference is that now they can see more of it because it's located at their home instead of somewhere else.

I'm amazed at how quickly parents seem to forget what it's like to be a teenager. Come on, people, give up already and save yourself the grief; your kids are smarter than you are, and they will figure out ways of keeping in touch and keeping things out of your view. Deal with it.

posted by Mars Saxman at 11:41 AM on June 7, 2000

i didn't find the article abrasive, just boring. it does show how far removed adults can be from the teenagers they were, as Mars pointed out.

i recommend challenging the parents in action group to a no-holds-barred game of sissyfight.

that should jog their memory.

posted by lescour at 12:35 PM on June 7, 2000

A generation that prided itself on turning parenting into an art form and choreographing every aspect of its children's happiness -- starting with mothers' groups, continuing through play dates and the right schools -- seems to have been blindsided by this latest twist.
In other words, parents who had managed to convince themselves that they had (and should have) an iron grip on their children's lives are waking up to the fact that they don't.
posted by harmful at 12:53 PM on June 7, 2000

I got a very different feel about the probable style of parenting. I'm leaning more to the style where they spend as little quality time with their kids and more time working, letting the TV (now the net) babysit there kids, and trumpeting causes "to save the children"

"You were so busy trying to save the world that you forgot about me"

-(I forget)

posted by Mick at 3:11 PM on June 7, 2000

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