Sunday, September 16, 2007

HW 7: Are You There For Your Kids?

I think that, just like everything else, kids need to do things in moderation. While I don’t think it’s necessary to monitor everything that kids write online, I do think it’s a good idea for parents and guardians to know what their kids are up to online. There are many dangers that kids can unknowingly get into, and they don’t have the capacity to protect their selves from it, that’s their parent’s job. If parents could keep an open dialog with their kids about what they are doing online and the names of the sites they use etc., that would alleviate some of the fear of unchecked online consumption. Another idea is to have the computer in the family room, that way kids know they can be looked in on at any time by parents. In a piece called My So-Called Blog that Emily Nussbaum wrote for Dan Burstein and David Kline’s Blog! How the Newest Media Revolution is Changing Politics, Business, and Culture she complicates matters further by asserting that, “this new technology has provided a million ways to stay in touch, it has also acted as both an amplifier and a distortion device for human intimacy” (Nussbaum 351). In other words Nussbaum is saying that now kids are spending so much time online and staying in touch with their friends, that they are losing out on the real intimacy of face to face conversation and relationships. They are putting themselves out there per say with their online confessionals and some would say giving in to being judged, but isn’t that what we all do in order to have an intimate relationship with someone? This goes back to having the parents there to act as a sounding board for these kids, so that they have someone to explain to them the complexities of relationships and life in general. On the computer or not, my point is that parents need to be there for their kids to help them sort out the hardships of life.


emilynussbaum said...

Actually, when I wrote that online life is "both an amplifier and a distortion device for human intimacy," I wasn't implying that kids were missing out on real-life human relationships. What I was saying is that online blogs are changing human intimacy in BOTH positive and negative ways: they are "amplifying" (thus making them more intense, louder, more vivid, which could be a good thing) and "distorting" (altering or misshaping, which is often bad or at least confusing.)
I think it's a cliche to suggest that blogs are universally harmful to "real life" relationships. Blogs may change intimacy, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing.

emilynussbaum said...

(And by the way, I don't mean that YOU were using a cliche! I just think there's a widespread cultural assumption that an active online life reduces real-life friendships, and that's not necessarily accurate, and sometimes entirely false.)

Tracy Mendham said...

I'll let Emily Nussbaum be the teacher on this one! I think it's great that your blog garnered this direct feedback.