A Reality Intervention
What do you imagine today’s sixth grader is texting? Do you think it’s even close to the stuff you were doing back in the ’80s? Something cuddly and meaningless:
Reality: here’s the text my girlfriend’s sixth grade son got last week from an eighth grade girl:
Seen you around. Meet me for a hard BJ?
And here’s the “chat” line my 9-year-old nephew got while on Facebook:
Next baseball game…do us a favor….take that bat to your head and don’t stop until YR pulp.
And get this: our middle school has strict rules against cell phone use during school hours. Why? Because the number one issue they’re battling is not drugs, alcohol, smoking, sex or bullying. No, it’s (cue the drum roll) TEXTING DRAMA. To quote the principal, “If there is any one thing I can advise you to do to prepare your child for success in sixth grade, it would be to abolish texting.”
The reality is that we were not prepared as a society to define HOW all this communication will be appropriately used. The reality is that we’ve got major, harmful issues waiting to link from cyberspace into our homes, like the one million children who were cyber-bullied last year on Facebook alone. The reality is that we’re handing 6-year-olds a direct link into the chaos. And the reality is that it’s past time for a “chat.”