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Editor's column: Kids going public with their antics … not pretty

September 14, 2013
By Per Peterson , Marshall Independent

Our kids, for the most part, are good people.

They help out in the community. They strive for excellence on the field or court, or on stage. They respect their elders. Many of them hold down part-time jobs while going to school. They're responsible and full of ideas.

There's a lot to be proud of here.

But they can also be complete idiots.

Sorry to be a hater, kids.

It's hard to target a certain group of youth, so I'll lump them all together. I know, not fair.

Maybe you're thinking it's also not fair to call them out for the stupid things they sometimes do, that they're simply victims of terrible trends and a culture that puts them in situations where they embarrass themselves without realizing (or caring) that they're embarrassing themselves.

But I'm not blaming culture, because they make up their own culture, and they choose to do stupid things. Yes, I was a teenager once, too, and I did my share of regrettable things, but today's teens ought to know by now that doing something stupid and doing something stupid in front of a video camera are two different things.

Kids, if you want to be goofy in the privacy of your own home, or your friend's home, go for it; you're teenagers, it comes with the territory. You're only a kid once, right? Acting weird or doing things we old farts think are ridiculous doesn't make you an idiot. What does is thinking that everyone else will think what you do is as funny as you think it is.

Unless you have some Bieber-like talent to show off, stop YouTubing yourself. Chances are, the people who watch videos of you being weird and wild are only amused because you're making a fool of yourself. They're not laughing with you, they're laughing at you. If you want to practice your twerking skills, be my guest; just don't create a historical, online document of you doing it. I don't want to see it. Your parents don't want to see it.

For those of you who don't know what twerking is, picture a person getting tased while having a seizure. Now pour a jar of nightcrawlers down their pants. That's twerking. It's the latest "sensation," whatever that means these days. Please kids, don't do drugs, don't text and drive and don't twerk in public. It's so foolish it's scary. I don't even care if you're good at it (how does one tell?). And if you do it privately, don't record it. Once something is downloaded and hits social media, privacy becomes but a word.

Some fads come and go. Some stick. Let's hope twerking goes and never comes back. It makes the Macarena look good.

And kids aren't the only ones taking their privacy public. More and more, we see parents choosing to punish their offspring in a real public way by making them hold signs up on a busy highway, showing motorists what they did to get into trouble, or posting embarrassing photos of themselves to get through to their kids. Seems like the perfect way to teach kids a lesson about the cons of putting themselves in a bad light under the watchful public eye.

I'm not sure I would purposely embarrass my daughter publicly like that, but then again, if she were to put herself out there for the world to see, what's to stop me from doing the same to her to teach a lesson?

Going public can work both ways.



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