KPC … Keeping Parents Clueless

I just finished reading this book, Generation MySpace: Helping Your Teen Survive Online Adolescence by Candice M. Kelsey, and I’m nearly speechless. My kids are still quite young so the whole myspace phenomenon may be old news by the time they’re teenagers, so why did I read it?

I read it because, first of all, I figured I’m partially part of this “Generation Myspace”. These kids like to say they’re the first to grow up with the internet their whole lives. I hate to break it to them but *wrong* … While maybe it’s not common for those in my age group (I’m 28 years old), computers have been part of my life since I was a pre-schooler. And we were the first family amongst my friends that had internet. (Prodigy!)

Perhaps the internet was somewhat lame compared to what it is now. We didn’t have myspace, but we had BB’s (Bulletin Boards).

Anyway, I picked up this book because I thought it would be a good chuckle. I thought, “This’ll be funny. Some old fuddy duddy has written about myspace and teenagers and the evilness of it all.” … Because truth be told, before reading this, I identified with “Generation Myspace” just as much as my own “MTV Generation ” … How I feel after reading it is a whole different story.

While reading this book I felt as if I was reliving some of my own teenage angst from some of the situations described. The chapter on what girls face sexually was downright frightening. While I also went through years of seeking male attention in inappropriate ways, I also did not have the platform that these girls have. Teenagers today have the ability to post personal and graphic photos and videos of themselves and too often, they do. The worst part of it is that they are so incredibly desensitized that they see nothing wrong with it. I’m not saying I was a saint, because I’d be struck by lightening, but I had a very clear moral compass of right and wrong. When I did something that was wrong, I knew it. These kids have no idea.

Like I said, I haven’t raised teenagers, so I don’t know how much a parent can protect them. It becomes difficult as teens naturally start to pull away from the family unit and come to respect the opinions of their peers more than any one else. But it seems to me that a lot of what is going on is simply a result of neglectful parenting. Many of the parents quoted in the book say idiotic things like, “I trust my daughter on the Internet. She’s a good kid.” … No! Bad parent! We do not trust our teens on the internet with their own computer in their bedroom with the door locked! It is our responsibility and our duty to protect them. Ignorance is not bliss in this case.

There is one chapter devoted to chat and text messaging style “lingo”. At first I scoffed. I mean, who doesn’t know what BFF (Best Fried Forever), ASL (Age, Sex, Location), LOL (Laughing out loud), and the like mean? How out of touch are these parents?

But then I read down the list and was shocked at the lingo I didn’t know. Here are a few (warning strong language):

CD9 – Code 9 (or Parents Are Around)
BOHICA – Bend Over, Here It Comes
GNOC – Get Naked On Cam (webcam)
GYPO – Get Your Pants Off
IDK – I don’t know
MOS – Mom Over Shoulder
TDTM – Talk Dirty To Me
PIR – Parents In Room
PAW – Parents Are Watching
KPC – Keeping Parents Clueless

If you’re surprised, this is mild compared to the rest of the book. I also found out that while kids have easy access to all kinds of illegal drugs via myspace, they also get high off of things around the house such as nutmeg, banana peels and peanut shells.

If you’ve got a teen, or even a young child, read this book. Prepare yourself and educate yourself so that you can protect your kids. We can’t put them in a big plastic bubble and keep them safe from everything out there, but just because something is a “normal” or “common” part of a culture or generation does not mean your child must participate. You’re the parent, so act like it. (And good luck.)



Filed under About me, books, culture, internet, kids, opinion, self esteem

13 responses to “KPC … Keeping Parents Clueless

  1. I’m a spaz about this stuff. My kids aren’t allowed to have My Space pages, nor are they allowed to post on Facebook. I have set their email passwords so that I can access their accounts at any time. I have told them that if they change their password, they will lose all privileges. For quite some time, I even went so far as to save all their MSN logs to a file that only I had access to. I know they’re not flashing online as they are not allowed webcam. The computer is in a main area of the house so they don’t have privacy. Oh man, I SHOULD have written a book on this crap! LOL!

    Privacy is not an option in my house. lol. And as I tell my kids, “If you don’t like the rules, write a tell-all book, get a book deal and go buy your own damn house to live in!” lol

  2. Tee

    Roxanne my dear, you are an inspiration! :)

  3. Thanks for the warning Tee and we have the computer in a common room instead of inside our daughter’s room so that we know who she is chatting with.

  4. Honestly, it freaks me out to think of all things out there my kids might have to face. But is definitely good to stay informed, which I do by using the internet, which is kind of ironic in a way…
    Thanks for the heads up.

  5. Great post.

    I have three teens and none are into the sordid stuff online. We parents have been very influential in their lives, and we are very devout Christians. My kids have a very solid moral base, too. This is probably the #1 thing that has kept them healthy and safe. Also, we homeschool, so– believe it or not– they experience almost no peer pressure.

    I was not raised so carefully, and my family, esp my brothers, had a lot or problems (jail, drugs, etc). My hubby’s teen years was even worse. Family life and living a life of faith in Jesus Christ has turned everything around!

    I am so sad for the kids today. I see the same thing as you– they don’t even realize the shameful things they do are wrong. :( All we can do is raise our kids right and show love to those who haven’t been raised so lovingly.

    And I can’t believe I am 12 years older than you. :| OMG I feel so old!

  6. My eldest is now 26 and I certainly need to be more savvy before the next group move into that phase.
    Thanks for the heads up.

  7. Makes me glad I have three boys. However, they are 6, 4 and 2, and the rule is no closed doors unless you are alone. Just in case they get a little too wound up looking at their pics of Princess Leia in the gold bikini (and yes, it starts this young, at least I know two of them are’t gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

  8. I do trust my daughter, she does have a computer and access to internet in her room. But we also are in there almost every few minutes bothering her unless she’s watching a movie. If we aren’t bothering her physically, we do have something called VNC Viewer. We installed a server version of this program on her computer and the view on both mine and my boyfriend’s computers. We can view anything, and even take over her computer, from using this program.

    She doesn’t know when or when we aren’t watching because it doesn’t slow her computer down at all. She knows it is there and she is forbidden to remove it. I’ll know if she does because I tend to use her scanner since the one we have is defective.

    She does have a myspace page, so do her friends and cousins. I am on each and every one of their pages and they are all made private. My sister does the same thing. Even my best friend, who helped me raise my daughter and babysat my sister’s kids with me, has them on her friends list.

    There isn’t much they can get away with. Oh yeah, and with all the free email accounts out there, don’t think for a minute that your child won’t go out and make one somewhere and then start a myspace page. They can. They will.

  9. There’s also software you can install on computers to see what your kids are doing. My project manager at work used it for her daughter (until she recently got caught) for years… it’ll email you with pretty much everything they type, including emails and instant messages. I know teens would find it an incredible invasion of privacy, but these days, I would just consider it good parenting…

  10. Nutmeg and banana peels for getting high? I am so clueless… I’m definitely going to pick up this book.

  11. Hi, You caused me to consider what is happening in our home with the computer use by the kids – I’m getting Cyberpatrol put on this week. My child surfs regularly now and she’s too young to run into the trouble out there. Actually, no one should run into what’s out there!

  12. Tee,
    Another great post. I’m a big user of MySpace for music stuff. MySpace really levels the playing field for bands. Band XYZ gets just as much band width as the Rolling Stones. It is also the number one way for me to contact musicians.
    That said, I see that it also levels the playing field for creepies. I’m so glad that I didn’t face this crap when I was a teenager.

  13. Tee

    All – I am definitely impressed with the parenting skills of all of you! Congratulations :) It’s good to hear that other people are doing such a great job of protecting their kids.

    Stacey – AWESOME! Thanks for letting me know :) I have warm fuzzies.

    Nora – Great point about it leveling the playing field for musicians. That is a good thing about myspace – it’s not all evil. I’m sure it’s reunited old classmates and all kinds of cool stuff – the important thing is to know what your kids are doing on there to avoid those “creepies” and other stuff like that.

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