Parents, it is a wonderful world you're waking up in today. Entire chunks of the Internet have disappeared as part of the SOPA Blackout -- a protest against Internet piracy legislation working its way through Congress -- and your teenagers are freaking out. Wait, better make that FREAKING OUT!!!
I think I heard the collective bang of the laptops of procrastinators who realized at midnight that Wikipedia had gone dark, effectively forcing them to do their own homework. Not surprisingly, these inventive little buggers then took to Twitter to unleash an angry torrent of complaints about how Congress has wrecked their life and their GPAs in one fell swoop, thereby trying to make us actually feel bad for them.
I don't, and neither should you.
Yes, parents, this is your wake-up call. The SOPA blackout may officially be directed at Congress, but it's unofficially directed right at you. Your kids are useless in the face of adversity. It's troubling to me as I raise a member of the Internet generation that kids seem increasingly unable to chart another course when the technological one is off-limits.
I don't say this to be cruel. I'm a writer on the Internet, and this whole SOPA thing has put a major kink in my day. But raised in the era of having to actually get off my hind end and go to the library to research a project, I will work around it. It's what we did back in the day of having to figure things out for ourselves, without a handy little gadget to do it for us.
This isn't just about forcing our kids to read actual books (although that would be nice). Forgive me for sounding like my third grade teacher, but it's about good old-fashioned critical thinking, and it goes far beyond homework. When one avenue doesn't work, you find another one. It's how you deal with not getting the number one job you wanted or finding your typical route to work has been closed due to (insert natural disaster of your choice here).
Whiny kids pissed off at Wikipedia aren't just a sign that we're raising brats who are too dependent on technology. It's a sign that we're raising kids who give up too easily. Google is still up and running along with millions of other websites. They could have picked one, any of them! Heck, they could have heeded the warning that the blackout was coming and actually done their homework a little earlier!
Instead, they blamed Wikipedia, Republicans, the Internet, and lady luck for screwing them over ... and then just sat there. Now imagine all those kids sitting there, waiting for the closed road to re-open because, well, it wasn't THEIR fault there was a mudslide, so they're not going to actually turn that car around and find another way.
It's a pretty scary look at our future. If that doesn't spur you to have a really long talk with the kids tonight, I don't know what will. Unless you really want to be raising a kid whose immediate response when option A doesn't work is to say "f--- this, the Internet is stupid."
Did the Wikipedia blackout highlight your kid's helplessness?
Image via Wikipedia