Brutally Honest Audio Rant: MySpace and Stupid Parents
(Computer – Introduction)
(Music intro – "American Idiot Remix" – by Green Day and David Matthews 2)
Good evening, and welcome to this week’s Brutally Honest Rant. I’m David Matthews 2, writer of the weekly online column Brutally Honest.
Let’s talk about MySpace.
You’ve probably been hearing about a website called MySpace.com. It’s one of those community web services where people can post web pages and blogs and pictures and chat with like-minded people. It’s certainly not the first of its kind; it’s just the most popular right now.
So what’s been happening is that you have these kids who are posting really risqué pictures of themselves and making any sort of comment possible online. And they’re engaging in conversations with people who may OR MAY NOT be other kids their own age!
Yes, that’s right, your precious little Johnny Dimple or Suzie Purebred may be chatting with COMPLETE STRANGERS who are seeing those risqué pictures online! Or worse… they may be ONLINE PEDOPHILES, surfing the web looking for YOUR CHILDREN to steal in the middle of the night!
Now, if you’ve just listened to what I’ve said so far and add that to the dozens of so-called "investigative reports" you find in the media today about MySpace.com and found yourself completely and absolutely SHOCKED and APPALLED by that news, I have something that I want you to hear…
Did you catch it? Hold on… I’ll repeat it for you…
Know what that is? That’s the sound of the world’s smallest violin playing "Cry me a river"!
Now folks, I’m not here to make light of a serious situation. Quite the contrary… I’m challenging people to step up and BE responsible.
You know, I’ve been doing online rants and commentaries for ten years now, and the ONE group of people that really piss me off when it comes to the Internet are STUPID PARENTS! I’m serious! I don’t care how much of an education you have or don’t have. You could be the smartest person in the world, but if you don’t know squat about taking care of your child, then you’re just as STUPID as any inbred trailer-trash redneck living in Numbnuts, Alabama.
And I really don’t have any sympathy for stupid parents. Seriously. Passing Biology 101 and pumping out a tax deduction does not automatically make you a parent. That just makes you a breeder. How you look out for and raise those tax deductions that you helped pop out makes you a parent, and it determines whether you’re a SMART parent or a STUPID parent.
SMART parents know that the Internet was designed BY adults FOR adults. It was not designed with children in mind. It was designed by military institutions, universities, and big businesses. It’s an electronic medium whereby information is exchanged, no matter if it is educational information, financial information, business transactions, or entertainment. And it’s used by a wide variety of people for a wide variety of purposes, many of them being ADULT purposes. ADULT interactions. ADULT transactions. And yes, sometimes ADULT entertainment.
STUPID parents, on the other hand, think that computers are primarily for kids. They believe that computers are just used to play video games with and to amuse the little tax deductions and to chit-chat with other kids the same age as them. It’s like a TV set, only with a typewriter and a little pointy-thing. Just pop a DVD in or some cute video game in the magic box and let the kids go at it.
SMART parents watch their children’s online activities and know where they go online. They make sure that their kids don’t engage in risky activities or make online purchases without them knowing about it. They know who their kids’ online friends are and know about the websites they set up or the Blog pages they run or the web-services they subscribe to.
STUPID parents don’t care one bit about what goes on with computers, because they will PROUDLY ADMIT to being "computer illiterate" or "technically challenged" or being so STUPID that they can’t even program their VCR, much less know how to turn on a computer that has ONE BUTTON.
And if it sounds like I’m getting just a little frustrated by this, it’s because I AM!
Like I said, I’ve been doing these online commentaries for TEN YEARS now, and yet I’m hearing the SAME kind of shock controversy from the SAME groups. The air-fluffed media is ALWAYS finding something scandalous about the Internet that they can use to scare people. The moralists are ALWAYS looking for some sort of wedge issue so they can justify a government takeover of all Internet content like they are doing with radio and television. Five years ago it was because of webcams and chat rooms. Ten years ago it was the fact that Playboy had a website, and that anyone could see anything they want to in the newsgroups. And before people heard about the Internet, these were the same people who were throwing fits over electronic bulletin boards, and before that it was party lines on the telephone.
Let’s get brutally honest here… this whole fuss about MySpace.com is really nothing more than just another prefabricated scare tactic. It’s a way to gain some ratings and a way to gain some political leverage over the STUPID parents out there, because SMART parents know better than to knee-jerk to that crap!
Here’s a really simple rule when it comes to things like MySpace.com: ANYTHING you post on the Internet will be seen by and disseminated by EVERYONE! Not just your friends, not just your family members, not just the cute guy in school, or the sexy babe at work, but also by complete strangers around the world… including the people that YOU DON’T WANT to have anything to do with! If you’re a teenager and you don’t want to have perverted sex fiends in their fifties lusting after your pics, then don’t post them! It’s that simple.
And if you’re a parent, you have to understand that it is YOUR JOB to keep an eye on what your kids do online! I don’t care how busy your life is or how "technically challenged" you are! Those are not acceptable excuses, especially when it involves YOUR CHILD! You don’t have to be smarter than your child when it comes to technology… it obviously doesn’t hurt… but you DO have to be smart enough to BE a responsible parent and to take charge and put down limitations. There ARE tools that will help you do that, and there ARE resources that will show you where those tools are and how to use them. It’s just a matter of you being a SMART parent and utilizing them instead of being a STUPID parent and knee-jerking to whatever spin the media plays about these websites.
Every time you hear about some scandal about places like MySpace.com or about sexual predators running amok online and going after kids, the VERY FIRST question out of everyone’s mouths should be "Where are the PARENTS?" The question needs to be asked, and it needs to be asked repeatedly until it finally sinks in with these people. It should be no different than if the kid walked out of the house and got run over by a car, or if that kid found daddy’s revolver, or if he got locked in a car in the middle of a hot day, because that’s what this essentially is. It is a matter of parental responsibility. And the more often we start asking THAT question, then the less often we’re going to hear about those sensationalized media stories.
(Computer – something you have to hear to appreciate)
(Fade Music In – "Flawed Legacy" by Martin O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori)
You know, folks, I think we can best summarize the difference between SMART parents and STUPID parents this way…
SMART parents are responsible parents. They don’t wait around for other people to do something that they themselves are responsible for. They don’t wait for the next big media scandal for them to take precautions when it comes to their children, and for the most part, they’re the ones that do okay.
STUPID parents, on the other hand, EXPECT other people, especially the government, to handle the responsibilities of taking care of their precious tax deductions. And unfortunately for those who ARE responsible, there are way too many people in the government who are all too EAGER to placate to these STUPID parents, because it gives them power over the rest of us.
Fate, however, has a funny way of turning things out, because it’s usually the children of these STUPID parents that you end up seeing on the nightly news.
Brutally Honest is a Get Brutal production, all opinions expressed are those of the commentator, and may or may not be shared by the online provider. This is David Matthews 2 saying good night, and I’ll speak with you soon!
(Computer – Ending/"End of Recording")
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