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Is technology ruining children's lives in Colorado?

A woman in Castle Rock, Colorado claims to be aghast that eighteen students in a middle school attended by her sons sent naked cellphone-made pictures of themselves to each other.

I have never been terribly fond of adults.

Somehow, the older people get, the more venal, calculating and, therefore, swathed in self-denial they become.

I have tried hard to have sympathy with Rochelle Hoins of Castle Rock, Colorado this week. I have struggled.

Ms. Hoins was stunned more swiftly than Mrs. Lot of Sodom when she discovered that eighteen students in a middle school attended by her twin sons had taken photos of themselves using their cell phones. The photos, having been emailed, took on something of a larger life in the ether of the web.

"We did dumb things when we were kids, but not like that," said Ms. Hoins.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention this, but the shameful photos in question were nude self-portraits. Clearly a horror far beyond anything Ms. Hoins' generation might have enjoyed.

Catherine Davis, a PTA co-president in Westport, Connecticut, explained it very cleverly: "It used to be that kids would make mistakes, and it was local and singular and everyone knew it was part of growing up....Now a stupid adolescent mistake can take on major implications and go on their record for the rest of their lives."

It seems that you technology people out there have invented machines that will permanently scar the moronic youth of today and give them no chance of a prosperous and happy life when they are older.

Please birch yourselves at regular intervals. Or, at the very least, use PCs.

But, wait. How does Ms. Davis know that these acts of silliness will affect the rest of these kids' lives? Does she know that an employer of the future will stare at an interviewee and declare: "Ah, Ron-Ron Kellogg. Are you the Ron-Ron Kellogg who splashed his naked body all over the web in 2008? You disgust me. Get out of my sight. People like you can never be accountants"?

Or might just a wee snippet of the truth lie in the fact that the parents are more concerned that these acts of silliness might affect the rest of their own lives?

How will THEY ever get over it? I mean, what WILL the neighbors think? Never mind the swingers at the Country Club.


It is surely quite possible that the kids will get over it by laughing about it in precisely the same way as Ms. Hoins's generation laughs about, ooh, that time they stole a kiss in the playground. From a girl. (Lips only, of course.)

Or, gosh, the time they drank a bottle of beer on the street- without even a paper bag around it.

We simply don't know how these things will be recorded and viewed in the future.

Rancid things do happen online. As they do offline. It would be wonderful if we could stop them. Perverts abound online. As they do offline. It would be wonderful if we could stop them.

Kids do dumb things. Technology can expose those things to a wider and sometimes unwelcome audience.

Boys get jilted and then post the naked pictures of their exes that they once held so dear on their MySpace page or elsewhere. Isn't that how we (not including me) got to see High School Musical's Vanessa Hudgens in an altogether narcissistic pose in the altogether?

Life is crapshootishly tricky. We can't trust many people. And we all make mistakes. Sometimes bad ones. Often we have no idea if the supposed mistake will really matter in a few years' time. Online or offline.

The web is just like Church- one more place with potential consequences.

If Ms. Coins really believes that today's technologically-enhanced children are far dumber than she and her generation were, why might that be?

Is it possible that at least some parents are bringing up kids who are indulged, self-obsessed and coddled to the point of stardom? Should they, therefore, really be surprised that the kids' behavior reflects that?

Whether it's on MySpace, marijuana, or the train from Salt Lake City to Haedes.