That's Not Cool

It seems to me like our parents, and other various adults, are freaking out about the technology we have available to us today. I've always thought that if you're responsible --- you put up all the privacy settings, you don't talk to strangers, you generally use your brain -- technology is actually a positive thing. We have so much information available to us, and I think social networking is healthy, and a good thing for kids to learn how to do. And you don't hear about 47 year old sexual predators masquerading as 15 year old guys (or girls...) so much anymore. Unless that's more because it's not fresh news, rather than it's not occurring.

But as one of my former teachers recently observed, "Technology is sucking the emotions from today's youth. Constant contact is not a good thing."

And I don't know, I think that's kind of true (says the girl who spends hours every day working on her blog, reading other blogs, social networking and whatnot). But seriously - sometimes it's good to have time to yourself, to be with yourself. I think this is especially true when it comes to technology and relationships.

I think it's the norm now for teens in relationships to text each other constantly. We're in loveeeeee it's what we do. And I think the "what are you doing, what are you thinking, what are you looking at RIGHT THIS MINUTE" thing is not exactly new to my generation...I just think it's evolved, and possibly not in a healthy way.

I've had friends whose significant others will text them up to 30 times in just an hour (or more) when they're apart, wanting to know what they're doing and who they're with, or just trying to distract them from whatever they're doing, because they're not with their significant other.  I don't know if technology is encouraging that kind of abusive behavior (yes, that's abuse) but it's definitely making it easier.

So when a reader told me about That's Not Cool - a website about technology and abuse - I was glad somebody was addressing this problem (there is abuse associated with technology that is an every day occurrence, with familiar people, that needs to end).

That's Not Cool is so great for teens because it's really doesn't feel like adults preaching to the poor, easily manipulated, dumb kids, which is something I'm pretty obviously against. It feels like information is being presented to us, and we're given the ability to chose what we think is right. For example, this video on "textual harassment" where you get to pick what you want to happen:

They have a section where you can "give and get advice, read someone's story or tell your own" and also have Callout Cards that are deliciously sarcastic, like this one:


So I definitely encourage people check That's Not Cool out. And in general to just think before you text. Although "stalking" in the lighter sense of the term seems to have become more generally accepted...it's still not a good thing.

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Julie Zeilinger
Founding Editor of The WMC FBomb
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