There is a particular maxim I hear frequently.
It’s the assumption that today’s youth will be hurt by their high level of online activity.
The logic behind this misconception starts with the realization that the average MySpace profile or Facebook profile is public. Attached to the average profile are an eclectic collection of pictures, diary-like blog postings, and messages from peers delivered as a form of theatre. The pictures are portraits and group shots of friends out and about. The blogs complain about the stress of the day. And the public messages are context sensitive to the drama of the week.
But, rarely, you’ll find a gem in the rough. It may be a gallery of questionably legal activities or an awkward blog of social discovery. Or, perhaps something never intended for the public eye. Regardless, questionable content has come back and bit people. And it seems as if the first generation with a pervasive online presence is headed for a mass painful lesson in discretion.
But I don’t buy that. There is no sense that such a broad age range will be discriminated against for behavior that is not out of the norm. It’s common knowledge that “everyone” imbibed drugs in the ‘60s. Underage intoxication has and will continue to be an issue as long as there are laws against it. Young men will fight. Young women will gossip. And both will think they have fallen in love.
These are the trials and tribulations of growing up.
And if I found someone’s Internet presence completely lacking these hallmarks, I’d wonder what they did with their youth.