Learning through Laughter

Bob Owen, Humorist

Social networking is dangerous for children.  I’m not sure the public seriously understands the impact of facebook and texting and all this technology on our youth.

I actually break out in a cold sweat whenever I think about the possibility of my growing up during the height of social networking. Of course, 60 or so years ago, I hate to even think what that term would have meant.  If I had said “social networking” to my parents, I would have been grounded, or at the very least had my mouth washed out with soap.

But our grandchildren don’t know any other animal.  Thank goodness I didn’t have the albatross of technology around my neck.

When I was in the first grade, we only went to school in the mornings.  So I walked the two blocks from school at Noon and had lunch at home.  One day Mrs. Fuqua was picking on me and accused me of disturbing the class with “excessive silliness,” and told me that she wanted me back in the classroom after lunch one particular day for detention.  I went home for lunch as usual and just didn’t return to school.  Mom was out in the yard in her rose garden when Mrs. Fuqua called for her.  There was no voicemail.  There was no texting.  She didn’t have Facebook.  So, Mom didn’t find out about my infraction of the rules until two days later.  By that time, cooler tempers prevailed.  Mrs. Fuqua, who basically thought I was cute, told Mom it was OK and that I wasn’t that disruptive.  Mom fussed and made me take a nap during the best part of the afternoon when my friends were playing Hide and Seek.  But, she didn’t paddle me.

Today?  Our grand-kids don’t have a chance.  They make one smart remark to a teacher, and one of their classmates posts it on their Facebook page for all the world to see, and within 17 seconds Mom is driving into the parking lot at school with a taser gun and duct tape for her child’s mouth.

The rumor exists that one high school boy and girl met for a private social networking moment and,  within an hour, “the young lady” had “hinted” at the event on her web page and gone so far as to rate the young man.  That is just so wrong on so many levels.  The girl’s brother was smashing the face of the unsuspecting boyfriend before he literally knew what hit him.

This level of instant communications cannot be good.

As children are growing up and exploring, I think it’s important they be able to make the same mistakes we’ve been making for years without having to run home and delete the DVR of Brian Williams’ newscast for fear they’ll be featured in “hometown news.”

Not only is the lack of social networking beneficial for youth, it’s good for the parents.  Now I ask you parents, “If you really want to know every solitary thing your children do 24 hours a day, as long as they’re not in personal danger or causing personal danger to someone else, please raise your hand.”  Oh, come on, I don’t care.  Either hand.

There!  I knew I was right.  I didn’t see one hand go up.

Date of Blog Story: 
May 13, 2011

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