I don't have kids. It's not that I don't like them, per se. I like other people's kids just fine. I'm just way too selfish to have any of my own right now. Thankfully, that seems to be the case with many Angelenos. Most people here are very focused on their careers and, thus, don't start having kids until they're in their late 30s.
However, I've recently been made aware of an incident that makes me rethink the idea of having kids completely. Like, maybe I'd be better off if I ripped my uterus out right now. Perhaps you know what I'm talking about. Have you heard of Jessi Slaughter? She's an 11 year old girl that made several YouTube videos after being harrassed online. She told her cyber bullies that she was going to "stick a Glock in your mouth and make a brain slushy." Her father even got into the mix, making an angry video and spawning catch phrases like "cyber police" and "ya dun goofed." I'm not going to post the videos here. You can see all that, and more, with just a quick Google search.
I admit, I'm kind of out of it when it comes to the new hot websites. I'm on Facebook. I check Perez Hilton several times a day. Other than that, I've got nothing. I don't even use Twitter, because I don't understand it. I take the attitude of "You damn kids and your music...get off my lawn!" Yeah, I'm old.
This incident has spawned a multitude of articles about cyber bullying, safety on the internet and the validity of sites like Tumblr and 4chan. However, I'm left with a much more basic question: what is happening to our children? This girl is ELEVEN YEARS OLD. When I was eleven years old, I was...well, I was in sixth grade. I think I had a crush on Jason Priestley. I listened to Mariah Carey (still do, actually). My friends and I thought that a big adventure was going to a movie at the dollar theatre and then getting some fries at Lindy's.
Granted, we didn't have the internet when I was in sixth grade. In fact, I think that my generation is the last to grow up remembering a time before the internet. Certainly, we knew nothing of "sexting." It was a big deal to even KISS!
Look, I know I sound old. I do. But I can't helped but be disturbed by how fast kids are growing up these days. They know about things that I didn't know about until I was in college. And they don't seem to understand the consequences of their actions. If you take a picture of yourself naked, someone will see it and, more than likely, someone will do something bad with it. It is not private. It will come back to haunt you. It is ALWAYS a bad idea.
So, what to do, then? Who's to blame? Is it the media? Bad parenting? Cow hormones in food? I don't know. Maybe no one is to blame. Maybe this is just a shift in our society. Maybe I'm the one that needs to get up to speed with today's kids.
I'm not sure. All I do know that is if I ever do have kids, I will watch them VERY closely. Or, better yet, maybe I'll just stick to dogs.