What About the Boyfriend in a Closet and the Biggest Question for Dr. Phil?
“I picture that young living brain in my hands again pulsating to the vibrations of what I think I want to call the Media Monster. A bigger question crosses my mind about how to protect teenage girls from falling prey to this giant clown face with its cavernous mouth feeding off Celtie Selfies, power-tripping them, stuffing them with stuff the crowds want to see, rather than something that will benefit them as an individual.” Excerpt from Teen Girl Faces Time in the Sand
I do not regularly watch Dr. Phil … lack of time, depressing topics of families hitting rock bottom in full frontal view of the world. But when I do, I am always impressed how he can turn around the most bitter vibes of accusations and dysfunctional relationships to get both sides talking with reasonable tones when focus is on regaining personal traction and truths. Given a choice, don’t most of us want to choose to be better?
But I did pay attention to one show called Social Media Meltdown Parenting Gone Wild. It centered on two mothers who were live streaming, or posting videos, for what they thought was for their private audience of social media friends; but which reached over 100 million combined views due to the voracious media’s nature of seeing vengeful feedback verging on psychotic.
Dr. Phil was interested why these women’s buttons were pushed but I was interested in how this giant social media circus swallowed them by the millions and spat out their bones according to their tastes.
Late one night, the first mother knocked on the door of her 17-year-old daughter’s bedroom and found a 20-year-old boyfriend hiding in her closet! Out whipped her cellphone with video and out came the most profanity infused dialogue with the furious mother overcome that her daughter and a visitor were exercising a forbidden dalliance which may be followed on Snapchat but not in her scope of upbringing. How would you feel about this?
Yes, the case can be made that a mother’s disappointment is justified, but what degree of virulent anger and condemnation needs to be posted for other people to stare at, share and maybe joke about? Who looks for this kind of volatile distress for what purpose?
And, then, unexpected reactions started to surface. First, the daughter defended herself saying, “We are just doing what teenagers do, having fun. Parents just don’t get we are growing up.”
But what really blew my mind is how abnormal this new social reality has changed because her girlfriends came to her rescue … applauding her right to hook up with convenience and decrying her mother for interfering and spoiling their fun. I couldn’t stop thinking that this is a new kind of rebel cavalry arriving on the scene to protect the trivial frivolity of social media against traditional family values.
Such an unnatural state of the young devouring the old.
When did this transition take place that rules, respect and social norms are relegated to second place values behind the first place demands of a rapacious, selfish, immature, momentarily fixated social media culture?
Then there were so many reactions from other parents who applauded this critical tirade of her daughter in full rant and view. What were they thinking that this is a good parenting technique to manage their teenagers by yelling, swearing and humiliating their actions? What is the right role model for parenting teenagers in such a risky, persuasive, addictive, peer-pressured, hype-controlled internet environment?
Dr. Phil’s comments were measured and precise as usual. You do not embarrass a teenager in public … it is one of the worst things to do. Never underestimate the viral power of virtual reality. Data never goes away. Embarrassment never dies. It looked like the adult felt chagrined.
The second mother became upset after a conversation with police officers and her children’s school and vented with live video on Facebook. Again, a very loud, expletive-filled, threatening voice that so many others found worth their time to watch … for what purpose? It turned out the woman who was bipolar had stopped taking her medications but with words so hateful that the school had to be put into lock down. A momentary explosion now stamped on virtual reality forever to be watched and shamed.
So, what is to be taken away?
Where does such explosive anger from adults come from? Are they products themselves of social media interactions where it’s alright to be mean, loud and overpowering without regard for others?
Is this how technology has brought down social rites of passage to our knees? When did young teenage girls question their rights to have unlimited sex and temper their parents for daring to interfere with their privacy and choices?
Is this how young teenage girls believe they are like-able, mature and responsible players in a Snapchat world dominated by adult prerogatives when their bodies and brains are still developing without long-term logical consequences?
How many other closets have been infiltrated by digital prerogatives of moral selfishness and sexual impulses into early adultification? For whose advantage? Here are four reasons.
Whatever Happened to Childhood? Rebecca Sweat David Elkind, professor of child study, and author of The Hurried Child: Growing Up Too Fast, Too Soon “Children are under tremendous pressure to ‘be mature’ and to ‘grow up’ when they have not had the chance to develop emotional maturity.”
But media is a cultural mirror and Selfies are on a winning streak.
Where do well-meaning parents turn to find strategies to help their children understand their unique roles in society’s future minus the social media circus? No parent wants their teenager to make an online mistake that can derail their lifetime of positive choices.
If I had a chance the biggest question I would ask Dr. Phil is how in the world did our social discourse degenerate so radically in a short time in this topsy- turvy, malignant culture?
Now that science research confirms that many teenagers have serious mental issues online; so, a follow-up question is what strategies can society apply to stem this advance and assault even if it’s possible now?
What are your thoughts about our teenage culture, social media impositions, parent’s rights and a shared hundred million views of distress for the public’s amusement?
Questions and comments can make a difference,
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“The best way to describe the next years was as a separate state unto itself called Welcome to the Domain of Celtie Selfies. There were many different interactions, of course; but, if there was a central condition, it would be that we were too young to understand if there was even a problem with the fact that there were so many lies for its own sake. And when somebody lies, they stop telling what is true, and with no truth, they soon lose respect for themselves and others. No respect means no love to live the normal truth.”
Excerpt from Teen Girl Faces Time in the Sand
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