Friday, April 17, 2009

Don't Call Me Stupid!

Came across this new non-profit organization The Institute for Responsible Online and Cell-Phone Communication (I.R.O.C.2) through a press release (should have seen the warning flags there). According to their website, this organization "is dedicated to educating society about safety, self responsibility, self accountability and the devastating and life altering consequences (emphasis added) that can occur."

They claim to promote online safety through "Digital Responsibility." While I support the idea of acting responsbily online, I am wary of some of their language which seems to be very blaming and alarm-causing. For example, one of the workshops they seem to be promoting highly is called "Sexting is Stupid." The title itself fails to appreciate that some aspects of sexting, while possibly not the best idea ever, are still within the realm of developmentally appropriate (sexual expression, desire to be loved, etc).

I sure hope that organizations like this don't take off. The last thing we need is more fear-promoting, alarmist groups claiming to improve online safety and usage in youth.


Anonymous said...

Ha ha, that last paragraph is funny.

Do you have children?

Big, grown adults who pride themselves on being oh-so-sauvy and intellectual get into all kinds of relationship troubles and smut addictions online, so why in ANY way promote such base and dangerous behaviors as sexting by speaking out AGAINST anyone attempting to alarm others of the devastation this can wreak on the lives of immature youth? (Are YOU just trying to get attention?)

Sexting is not "within the realm of developmentally appropriate". So, tell us, "developmentally" you would see some good coming from a naked picture of your daughter being circulated throughout her school and beyond, for learing old men to see, and her reputation being irreparably damaged? Sexting is not only stupid, it's sinful. Yes, I actually said the word "sinful". Hey, it's BECAUSE some of us still believe there is such thing as sin (right and wrong) that makes sinning still so much tee-hee, hush-hush fun for those who do, so they actually have US to thank! Thank goodness some of us have not yet become totally desensitized to evil actions. Fulfiling the desire to be loved by sexting? Now that's just sad.

I sure hope that organizations like this take off. We need more "alarmist" groups hopefully instilling fear of potential awful consequences, hoping to improve online safety and usage in youth. Young people notoriously do stupid, thoughtless things, even more than us smart, mature adults. Look around you at this world. It's a freakin' mess! Why? Because of people being STUPID.

Jeff Valliant said...

I don't think Dr. Kris is condoning the act of sexting nude pictures of children. I think she is merely pointing out that sexting, to some degree, could be a healthy part of expression. It seems that the "group" in question is just another form of "Father-Knows-Best" paternalism shoved in our faces! As far as "us smart, mature adults" are concerned, I'd rather take the advice from someone who has a formal education on this subject, as opposed to someone who "freakin" hasn't.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Well, perhaps that was too much a "knee jerk" reaction to what Dr. Kris said. Originally, all I was going to ask was if she had children.

Why? Because it's amazing how much attitudes usually change when people become parents. Most begin experiencing this world anew through the eyes and ears of their still sweet and innocent children. These are young people you love so VERY much (more than you ever thought you could love anyone) and want to AT LEAST TRY to protect as best you can from harm and all the ugliness in this world. (It's unfortunate how many people don't/didn't have this kind of father however.) It is very often like being a salmon trying to swim upstream in this culture. At most any grocery store checkout, peruse the magazine covers and just see how nice and civilized we humans have become.

We parents need HELP in our efforts to guide our children into wise decisions. They are getting too much a sense of what's right and wrong via things like the ever-more-sensational and anything-is-fine-as-long-as-it-gets-a-laugh-and-makes-us-money media.

That's why I hate to see any organization that is trying to do something good get slammed in any way. Maybe this org. is not perfect, but, overall, what do you think it is attempting to do?

You're right; I have no formal education in this area, but don't most of us believe that common sense trumps a title someone is able to get by spending hours in school and passing tests? We've all known people with impressive titles we are "supposed to" respect because of them (such as CEOs, college professors, and even presidents of countries) with whom we have not agreed with their judgements.

While rereading, I was embarrassed to see I had misspelled a couple words, which makes me seem even less "up there" with a doctor. The choice of the word "freakin'" was making use of a popular word I almost never use. And, I see I omitted the 2 very important words "in part" before the word "BECAUSE". Of course sin is sometimes a great deal of "fun" whether or not there are any people or ideologies around to make it seem enticingly forbidden!

I certainly understand why people participate in sexting. Probably for some of the same reasons men sleep with other men's wives. We are all tempted to do the most base (degrading and dishonorable) things, some of which we may later strongly regret. Doing what's wrong is easy. Anyone can do it! It takes no special skills whatsoever. It's exercising self-control that is admirable.

Adults can and will participate in this potentially "healthy part of expression" (your words not those of Dr. Kris), but her concern was about this organization and it "claiming to improve online safety and usage in youth", not adults.

Something go consider: What if Father DOES know best?

Anonymous said...

If she don"t have kids, what does she know about protecting them like a normal parent would??? Does jeff vailant have kids? what does he know? maybe he thinks so. Anonymous is RIGHT! we need more protection for our kids and their future too!

Dr. Kris said...

Thanks so much for posting on this issue! I have been so unavailable lately, and apologize for not responding sooner.

For the record, I do not have children. I work with youth in my job, but I know that is not the same as parenting. So, you can take my thoughts on issues related to this as you like knowing this about me.

I DO want to be clear that I am NOT advocating youth to post naked pictures of themselves anywhere! What I do want people to think about is this: that doing so might be developmentally understandable (I used the word "appropriate," and that was my mistake). At this age, young people want to be noticed, liked, and seen as desirable. Sexting is one way to test this out -- not by any means the best way, but it is A way. And, as adults we need to see this act through the eyes of teens when we ask "why would they do such a crazy/harmful/illegal thing?" It is actually easy to answer. Hard to fix.

Thanks for the comments! Look forward to more!

Jeff Valliant said...

When I said "it could be a healthy part of expression", that was my take on it being "appropriate", and now it appears to be wrong. I guess the sentence "Are YOU just trying to get attention?" pissed me off, as I really don't believe that to be the case.