I know this isn't new to our generation of parents, but I feel that it is exacerbated by Internet. I'm not down on the Internet (especially because I've built my career out of Net-related jobs), but the vast amount of information available to anyone is daunting. I started thinking about this after reading MojoMom's post called, "Reclaiming Your Mind Space...and your Family's." It's about the impact of all kinds of media on our lives and on our families', especially our kids. She wrote:
Why is our culture obsessed with what we eat, and the drugs that we consumer to artificially stimulate our brains, while we pay relatively little attention to the actual sensory stimuli we take in?...[T]he largest group of Internet porn consumers is 12-17 year olds, and the average age of first exposure to porn is age 11. What is that doing to our children's sexual self-images, ideas about what is a normal relationship and behavior, framework about what it means to be a man or a woman, and sex as an abstract experience versus a real relationship?Right now Toddler in Chief has very limited access to media. During baseball season, he loves to watch the San Francisco Giants. After each play, he performs a one-man instant replay in our living room. The rest of the year, he thinks that television is just a bunch of previously-recorded shows that are available for viewing whenever we choose--which isn't very often. As for computer use, he likes to send email to distant grandparents and giggle at himself when the webcam is open for viewing.
But that will all change when he is older--probably seven or eight years from now when he knows how to navigate the Web. With our DSL, access is easy. We'll definitely set up some parental controls and do our best to monitor him, but it won't be a perfect system. He'll likely have access at friends' houses too, looking at who knows what. I know every generation believes that their kids will be facing a much more challenging youth because of the media around us, but the generation coming of age (my niece and nephew, 11 and 14, respectively), along with our kids, the volume of information and images--good and bad--is plentiful and accessible, whether we like it or not.