President Obama Makes Your Web-Addicted Teen Sound Less Crazy


FacebookIt's been a tough year for parents of the Internet generation. Between high school sex lists and tween cyberstalkers being brought up on charges, I can't be the only parent asking where's a DeLorean when you need a trip back to saner times. But wait! There's hope! And it comes straight out of the Obama White House of all places. 

Seems President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are holding firm on the Facebook ban in their house, even though daughter Malia has officially reached the legal age to join the social networking site. And the way the president tells it, Malia is OK with that! Say what? There's a teenager out there who doesn't want to blow her right to privacy to smithereens? But wait, there's more!

Just this month we have learned that: 1. Only 1 percent of kids ages 10 to 17 have actually ever sexted and 2. The percentage of kids receiving unwanted online sexual requests declined from 13 percent in 2005 to 9 percent in 2010. Get that, people? Our kids are not actually all getting slutty and stuff up on the interwebs.

In fact, if you go by what Malia Obama told her presidential papa, there are plenty of nice, normal, well-adjusted teens who would like everyone else to mind their own beeswax. The prez paraphrased his daughter to People this week, saying:

Why would we want to have a whole bunch of people who we don't know knowing our business? That doesn't make much sense.

Ding, ding, ding! Think about your teenager. How hard is it to pull vital bits of information out of them? Now think about all these super scary reports out there in the media. Does that really jive with your kid?

I took a gander through my Facebook feed today to test my theory, and I couldn't cyberstalk most of my young friends if I wanted to. My 16-year-old cousin apparently loves his girlfriend a lot, because a scroll through his feed is covered in hearts. But beyond that, I've got nothing more damning than a few photos of him palling around with his friends on four-wheelers. And my 15-year-old babysitter shares a lot of song lyrics ... which are well-known to anyone who listens to My Chemical Romance anyway.

In fact, for all the stories I've read this past year that made me want to grab the laptop and go screaming into the dark ages, the worst offenders on the privacy scale aren't the kids at all. There are certain women in their 30s who sound a lot more like the prototypical 15-year-old girl than the actual 15-year-old girls on my friend list. And as far as oversharers go, it's the adults who are more likely to give minute by minute updates on what TV shows they're watching, where they're working, what they ate for breakfast, etc. than the teenagers.

Do your kids take more of the Malia Obama approach to sharing every detail of their lives with the world?


Image via Facebook

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jands... jandshyne

Personally I call BS on him.  She's a "first daughter", she has no privacy expectations to begin with.  If she said that it was so he could regurgitate it.  They can try all they want to convince us, but no kid is going to live in the dark ages forever.  Former "first daughters" and other popular government officials' children are normal, why wouldn't these girls be normal teenagers too?  I'm not saying kids aren't learning from other kids' mistakes.  I think and hope they are and that they are getting smarter about what not to share online, especially because most schools are hosting lessons on just that.  I know our schools host a police officer twice a year just to speak to the kids about cyber security, sexting, cyber-bullying, etc... and those aren't short lessons, they're generally a couple of hours worth of a speech with videos and slide shows.  I hope they're ALL taking this to heart, but they're all still on Facebook and I just don't believe the President's children aren't normal kids underneath it all.  I surely hope they in fact, are!!  It would have been interesting if she'd wanted a page and they'd let her have one, and use it as a platform to teach other kids her age how to protect themselves.  I can't think of a better way to do that actually.

jessi... jessicasmom1

well it is up to their parents to tell them what they want to parent

Domon... DomoniqueWS

I think for the Presidents Daughter's it is smart, I mean what are they going to put up there, and they will be watched by everyone waaay more. Its different Publicity for them.  Their dad took a job where they are under scope 24/7.  They are not normal every day kids that what they put only so and so will read it.  They also aren't actors or models or musicians who have seemed to want that type of spot light.  I think it is smart of them.  FACEBOOK is not the end all be all.  lol I know many people who don't care to have one.

Bulle... Bullet_Proof_Me

Jandshyne-- Just because W. Bush's daughters had no sense of propriety doesn't mean that Obama'd can't. Chelsea Clinton was a very private young lady and probably felt the same way had Facebook been around then. These poor kids are in the spotlight through no choice of their own and probably value every scrap of privacy they can get.

Also, some teens and tweens actually respect their parents and do as they are asked without throwing hissy fits. I'm sure the president an first lady have instilled these values in their daughters, but it isn't shocking or unbelievable that the daughters would believe their parents.

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