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The era of Facebook is an anomaly | The Verge

Stashed in: Young Americans, Culture, Fear, life, Parenting

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Is it just human nature to be skeptical of these scary new technologies?

Nothing is more nerve-racking than capitalizing on the fear of adults about their kids. That’s one of the problems; we need to be resisting that culture of fear if we want to actually get anywhere. We need to step back and think about what we’re doing and the consequences of our decisions. It’s not like our conversations about security in this country. We can go hog wild and spend all of our resources trying to make it marginally more secure, but we will never make the world entirely secure. We will never make anything entirely safe. The question is, what is the level of resources, time, energy, money that we want to spend. There are diminishing returns on this.

We do this thing with kids where we try to keep them safe from every form of danger. Not only do we have diminishing returns in terms of time and energy, but we have unintended consequences just like we do with security, which is that we’ve eroded [kids'] opportunities to learn, to participate, to make sense of this world. They need this to come of age. We make it very difficult for them to be public. We make it very difficult for them to be a part of our political life. And we justify it through everything from brain science to mistakes that they’ve made and stupidity.

There’s an increasing gap between the teenage years and the first point in which a middle- or upper-class adult has a child. It used to be that people were having children at the age of 23 or 24. By and large middle- and upper-class parents are having their first child in their 30s. You remember certain parts of your teen years, but you don’t really remember.

It's true that by your 30s you really don't remember your teens. Is that what creates fear?

No, fear is created by the culture. That we don't remember by our 30s just taps into that.

Agreed.  People also forget, or never knew:

"In your preface you say 'the kids are alright.' What do you mean by that?

My frustration about how we approach young people is that we think that everything must be so much worse because of technology. The funny thing is that we’ve had these moral panics for every generation. Comics were ruining everybody, rock and roll was ruining everybody, MTV was ruining everybody — we’ve had this in many different iterations." 

Yes, but in this particular case the thing that is ruining everybody is the network.

Comics, rock and roll, MTV -- those were passive consumption experiences.

The network is interactive, worldwide, all the time -- there's never a break from it.

It's a feedback loop that does change the wetware of the people using it.

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