We need heroes and heroines right now. More than ever. Why? Because this culture does not value or protect its young. This culture does not properly grasp the protected status children require to grow naturally, healthfully and well. It is evident in how many of them go hungry. It is noticeable in how many of our young people suffer from disorders that have toxic environmental links perpetrated by corporations seeking to make a profit. It is evident in the way our children’s childhoods have become overly commercialized and consumer-oriented. It is apparent and appalling in the way we sanction food that is grown with toxins, harmful modifications and refined to the point of being dangerous. It is manifest in how many of our children are on unprecedented amounts of medications. It displays itself in how many of our kids are depressed, stressed and anxious. It shows in how little we pay and respect teachers, and how little real progress ever happens in education. It reveals itself around the multi-billion dollar amounts always available for the defense budget, while schools continue to be level-funded year after year despite increases to the cost of living, and to the growing demands that schools must meet in terms of student needs. And it is palpable in the way we allow our children to see things and spend their days in ways that rob them of their innocence, vitality and inner freedom.
I have yet to meet a parent who in some way is not worried about how the technologies are using our children. Why is it then that we are not organizing around this one? Why are we not refusing to allow this to continue? Why are we not carving out the time and the actions necessary to address our concerns? We are so schizophrenic around the technologies in the truest sense of that word, i.e. to be of a split mind. Through one side of our mouths we lament what is happening, and through the other side we live as if our devices are valued family members who get the preferred seat at the table. Or worse yet, we allow that family member that we do not want around our kids, to live with us nonetheless.
Likely, parents everywhere, and at all times, have struggled with some version of their children getting into something, or being exposed to, what we would most want them to avoid. Recently though, the reality of our children getting involved with the wrong thing has exponentially exploded with the advent of the screen technologies. This is alarmingly exemplified by the story I just heard of local teenage girls posting nude pictures of themselves on Instagram, all in the name of body image empowerment. Funny thing is though, as the story goes, only the good-looking girls with the “good bodies” are doing this. And oh, by the way, the political statement is entitled The 100 Day ‘Ho Down. In case you didn’t catch it, it is ‘Ho as in WHORE. So, young women are exploiting their bodies, referring to themselves as whores, all the while believing that they are taking back the night with this one. Will this be enough for us as the grown-ups to weigh in on? We can refuse to address this in any kind of a meaningful way, but the truth is, it will go on; with or without us.