Friday, September 23, 2011


Hi folks, I’m Hattie Collier and I’d like to say that I’ve got a bone to pick.  Actually, I’m hopping mad and I’ve got to calm down just to write about this. 
You see, the other day my twelve year old granddaughter came to my house, and as usual I was almost  glad to see her, and I say almost because lately when she comes over, all she does is sit on my couch and  constantly twitters or tweets—or whatever they call it.  I’ve noticed that conversation between us has become very limited the older she gets.  I’m surprised she can put a complete sentence together when she does speak, so on this particular day I decided to try and see if she could still talk.
I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up.  It’s a question that I’ve asked her many times in the past and the answers have gone the gamut from a princess to a teacher.  She was nine the last time I asked and she said that she wanted to be an astronaut.  Was I proud!
This time she looked up at me with her thumbs steadily moving over her cell phone and said just as plain as day, “I plan on being a reality star on TV because I want to get paid.”  Say what?
I kept my cool and asked smugly, “And what courses will you take in college to prepare you for that career?”
Still tweeting, she didn’t even look up when she answered, “Oh, I’m not going to college.  I’m gonna make a sex tape when I’m eighteen, put it on YouTube and get discovered that way.”
I would have laughed out loud if she hadn’t looked serious.  All I could think of was, Lord, have mercy, where did we go wrong?  I kept telling myself that she was only twelve, so she’d change her mind ten times before she reached eighteen, so don’t despair.  But I whispered a silent prayer for some backup and then I asked, “Have you told your folks about your big plans?”
“Nope,” she answered with her thumbs continuing to fly, “I’m just sharing it with you.  They’ll find out when I turn eighteen.  So please don’t tell them.”
Now I was supposed to be a co-conspirator with my granddaughter about her plans to become a porn star!  Lucky me!
I had to drop on my knees that night and pray over that one.  I didn’t want to betray her trust, but I decided that if I saw any signs that this was truly her ambition and not some childhood fantasy, I was running like the wind to my daughter and son-in-law and squeal like a pig. You see, that’s one of the advantages of being a grandparent, you can dump the problems that the grandkids might have right into their parents’ laps.
After getting over the shock of having a potential nudie model in the family, I decided that I had to get a clue as to where the child’s head was at.  What was it about her generation that made public nudity and sexual activity an acceptable stepping stone to stardom, and on a so called reality show at that!
I headed to the library in search of a book that might explain to me what was going on in this country that outside forces would influence my kindhearted grandchild more than her descent, loving, and God-fearing family.
I’m not sure that I got the answer, but I’m sure did get a clue.  Remembering how my granddaughter never missed a beat twittering during our rare five minute conversation, I picked up a book titled Bloggerati, Twitterait:  How Blogs and Twitter are Transforming Popular Culture. The book was written by Mary Cross.
What I read boggled my mind.  I knew that things in this country were changing. That always happens, but as I continued reading it dawned on me that I was living through a full-fledged revolution; nothing would ever be the same again.
There was too much in the book to review here, but among the many things that I found to be really interesting were the predictions that Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, made in 2009.
These are some of his predictions about what the internet would look like in 5 years (that’s by 2014):
“Today’s teenagers are the model of how the Web will work in five years—they jump from app to app to app seamlessly.”  I know that’s true.  I’ve been a witness to that!
“It’s because of this fundamental shift toward user-generated information that people will listen more to other people than to traditional sources.”  If “traditional sources” include family members he’s right on track with that.
“American popular culture is going worldwide and viral on the Internet.”  Who can argue with that?
 “People will be more knowledgeable, though not necessarily wiser.”  Truer words were never spoken.  The just plain stupid decision making quota has reached an all time high.
“But there will be a proliferation of bad information, rumor and falsehoods.”  As if there’s not enough of that now!
“The power structure will change, breaking the grip of established institutions on culture and giving more power to the ordinary person.”  More power to dumber people.  Oh Lord!
 “Privacy on the Internet is essentially over.”  As if I need more people in my business. I’m just thrilled by that!
 “More people will work at home.”  Good, now my daughter and son-in-law can watch their kids more often.  I’ve got things to do!
“Women will dominate social networks.”  Thank goodness, all we need is more porno watching men on the internet. 
“Smarter kids, harder to educate.”  Translated:  Smarter kids will be dumber.  
“An increasingly isolated individual within the nuclear family.”  
So that’s the bottom line.  I see this last prediction happening with my four grandchildren every day, and I’m in the battle of a life time to try to stem the tide.  But, somebody tell me how can a mere mortal fight a tsunami?  Progress is not always improvement.
We can all muse on that.

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