What About the Children, Part II

Looks like last week’s article instigated a lot of thoughts, and not a few hot opinions. Though I realize this topic does not have to do, directly, with online advertising, I do think that it is germane to our industry in so far as WE are going to be the ones asked to do something about the accessibility of the medium, what it consists of, and how it evolves.

This is a topic important to all of us as human beings living in a shared world, just as it is important to us as marketers who work in the space. With the kinds of email sent by marketers to our inboxes, it is going to fast become something we all have to deal with.

Yes, it may not be our fault, but it is certainly going to be our problem.

That said, the first line of defense for our youth against the impropriety of salacious media is still the community – that is, family and friends.

Laziness is still no excuse for the bad things that happen to people. It may be an explanation, but it is not an excuse. Being a parent is hard; always has been. Being a watchful friend is hard. When God asks Cain, “Where is Abel, your brother?,” The answer, “I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?,” is not the right one. Social responsibility is borne of the idea that we ARE one another’s keeper when it comes to protection from harm and sustinet needs. Regarding our children, it is tantamount that we do this to the best of our abilities. This does not mean we put needless limitations on a majority for the purposes of protecting a minority, but it does mean that individual endeavor and personal culpability should be primary in how this medium and the society in which is operates develop.



When I was a kid and when my parents were kids, the way guardians dealt with protecting children from things the adults themselves didn't understand was to make the children afraid of the object or phenomena, or afraid of the consequences they would suffer if they did not avoid said object or event.

Perhaps we live in a more enlightened age, and the thought of getting beat by one's old man for a transgression against his will is distasteful. But then that means as parents, guardians, etc, we have to WORK HARDER and BE SMARTER.

It is true that our children seem to know more about de rigueur technology today than most of their parents. But kids knowing more about how the technology in the home works than those responsible for bringing it under the roof is not a problem that government or business communities should be addressing. If you are responsible enough to bring the device into the home, you can certainly make the effort to figure out how it works.

As an industry, our responsibility lies with the product we make available and the ways in which it gets distributed. But education and stewardship for our youth needs to come from the family. Let familial action and social sanctions have a chance to work first before the government, business, or some other more distant entity steps in.

Americans are terribly entitlement-prone. We so often mistake "privilege" for "right." Having kids and technology are among the privileges, not the rights, and it is time, as a society, we treat both with the attention, the grace, and the care both deserve. Otherwise, letting governments, TVs, computers, and video games go unharnessed, and letting these things raise our kids, we are going to end up with an endless supply of Columbines and Christina Longs.

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