Miley, Miley, Miley.
If you have been hidden under a rock for the last 24 hours, you may have missed the VMAs (that is Video Music Awards) on MTV (that is Music Television I believe). I missed it for sure, because I haven’t watched that channel since about Real World Season 6 and I think they are on Real World Season 55. However, what I COULDN’T miss was when the Titterverse had a giant and simultaneous brain explosion when Miss Cyrus took the stage to perform.
So I did what any mature adult would do. I rose above and ignored the gossip. Ha, no way, I rushed to YouTube to see what all the fuss was about.
Okay, I get it. From the dawn of time, “artists” have been pushing the envelope. Hoping to make an impression. When I got online to make my own Facebook statement of indignation, a dear friend reminded me of the influences we had growing up. For heaven’s sake, Madonna released an album called Erotica with a companion photo book entitled SEX. And yes, lest you be confused about what the photos actually were of… it is what you think. Britney made school girls naughty(er?), wore skimpy clothing and I believe, during one certain tour, pretended to pleasure herself in a bathtub.
So yes, my friend is correct. Miley Cyrus’ decision to use a foam finger as an, ah, um, ahem, sorry, can’t go there. Whatever she was doing with that finger, is not a new phenomenon.
But thanks to the great double-edged sword of technological advancements, I think it IS more problematic to our children than what we saw growing up.
I was free to make all kinds of mistakes when I was growing up. Say, for example, I decided to “be like Madonna” and recreate a scene from SEX (this did not happen by the way.) The only people who would have known were the participants. Sure, maybe someone blabs, there is some gossip for awhile and then things move on to the next teenage scandal.
Let’s say that same thing happens today. First, someone takes a cellphone pic, obviously. That gets posted to SnapChat because kids are dumb. No, that isn’t fair. Kids are not dumb, but it is PROVEN that the part of the brain that controls reasoning isn’t developed until a person is well into adulthood. Children sometimes make bad choices – it is actually NOT 100% THEIR FAULT. So anyhoo, someone posts this pic to SnapChat and they think that is the end of it. But a “friend” of theirs gets a screen grab of the pic. They post it to Facebook and Twitter. Hashtag “time to ruin a few lives.” Maybe someone took a cellphone video, posted it to all the above, maybe Vine. Now, not that teenagers need it, but all those bullies out there have new ammunition to use online and in person. Maybe these poor kids change schools to get away from the harassment. That doesn’t matter, because the kids at their new school know how to use GOOGLE for God’s sake, and they found the photos, the videos and now have both a new target and new fun fodder. So THEN what? Homeschool? Suicide? Let’s talk about the future. THESE PHOTOS AND VIDEOS COULD BE AVAILABLE WHEN YOU ARE LOOKING FOR YOUR FIRST JOB. It is the Internet people. It is not kind.
As an adult, you may be reading this and thinking I’m going overboard. NO I’M NOT. This kind of activity and bullying is happening every day. It is terrifying.
And that is why we can’t just laugh off these types of “performances” and roll our eyes and say, “OH MILEY.” Chuckle and think how ridiculous we all thought she looked. Because for everyone of us who are unimpressed, there is someone with an undeveloped frontal cortex who is seeing a role model, and who has the tools and access to emulate the things they are seeing and share it with a very, very wide audience.
Look, I made a ton of mistakes growing up, and I am not foolish enough to think my kids won’t make them too. Normal, natural, growing up and learning from them mistakes.
But now, more than ever, I believe that we have to be vigilant about what our kids are seeing and TALKING to them about it. About the dangers of social media, about privacy and how to protect yourself. We can’t immediately change the world, but man, we have got to find a way to help them navigate it.
And pray there isn’t a cell phone around when the worst mistakes happen.