Are We too Naked?

Category: Social Media Social Good Series

Embarrassment Photo

                         Look at this closely and you’ll see “it”

Everyone is exposing themselves these days, if not literally then at least figuratively. Discretion in the public sphere is gone. Shame hardly exists when we see figures like Anthony Weiner and Elliot Spitzer right back in the run for public office. Our once trusted and venerable journalists (think Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite) are now mostly pundits and propaganda mongers. Truth takes a back seat to agendas. And, with celebrities, the lack of decorum literally knows no bounds.

Paris Hilton photo from her sex video

How/why did Paris Hilton become famous? What about the Kardashians? Do people know Lindsay Lohan from her role in “The Parent Trap” or her regular appearances in court? Let’s not even talk Baseball Players or NBA “Stars” when infidelity is a badge of honor and only when you brutally commit murder might you get thrown out of the NFL.

In the old Hollywood days of The Studio System, there were full-time “protectors” of the stars whose job was to keep their indiscretions out of the public eye completely. Errol Flynn was a notorious figure that required extreme “babysitting” by his studio. The whole Hearst affair with Marion Davies was one of the best-kept public secrets of the day. Heck, JFK was protected by a sycophantic media who kept his dalliances quiet.

Times are so different.

Embarrassing photo of passed out girl

But, I’m more interested and concerned about “the folks” as our president often refers to the public. I’m worried about our kids and how their public and social media lives will affect them. We all know that everything online is largely searchable and once you’ve “published” something, hit “send,” or posted that photo, no amount of morning after regret and hits of the delete button will ever completely erase it from the public sphere.

We are too naked. This is not a privacy issue. This is choice. Most of us choose to put ourselves out there is ways unheard of just a few years ago. Technology is only the vehicle, not the culprit. It’s a change of thinking, the loss of shame, and the celebration of celebrity, sex, and scandal that has created this atmosphere were tween girls put naked photos of themselves on Instagram.

Harry Potter embarrassment

While I don’t intend to make this a parenting column, I will declare that it is a parent’s job to try and protect our children from their own quick-on-the-draw choices that might come back to haunt them when they’re applying for that first job after college.

Think about yourself for a moment. Heck, I’ll use myself for this example. I could NEVER run for public office. There is just too much out there that I’ve done – nothing horrific – that would come back to haunt me. There are photos, videos, and certainly plenty of writing that could and would be used – perhaps twisted – to squash any effort at seeking public office.

Teen girls being bullied

I know I’ve cautioned my boys many times to re-think some of the things they’ve posted – and delete those that are obviously problematic, still recognizing they may still be searchable. Language alone is abused so regularly online. Keep the f-word for your private talk. Don’t publish it. Ever.

So, what is the answer? I really don’t know. I like to ask the questions and hear what others think.

kid passed out in urinal

  • http://www.stirringtroubleinternationally.com/ Stirring Trouble International

    Your right Bruce

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Thx @stirringtroubleinternationally:disqus

  • Kathy Davis

    Troubling. No parent want their child victim to poor judgement. Remind them they are representing not just themselves, but their family. Shame will travel down the pipeline.
    Reinforce morals, beliefs, manners, and keep them accountable.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Well said @disqus_2OEcs3gKSZ:disqus – TY – please come to #DadChat any/every Thursday – we’re a GREAT community of dads AND moms!

  • Opinionator

    You have a way with words and pictures…AWESOME!

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I’m pleased that you approve @disqus_ZCmRxLWrbl:disqus !!!

  • Suzi

    Totally agree with this. I’m forever telling my 15 year old that he needs to be careful, especially since people don’t use screen names now like they did fifteen years ago! As for the eff-bomb, completely agree. Sure, I might swear like a sailor, but there’s no reason to type like one.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      It’s sad @disqus_OX2qqtsSiM:disqus that our kids live so in the moment that it can hurt them in the future. Yes, it’s good to “live in the moment” as a philosophy of life but our kids do need to under the idea of “consequences!”

  • jack43

    Although I’m too old to pick up a gun and take to the hills to fight the government, it’s no secret that I’m inclined to foment unrest among the Internet population with my writings. Will my words come back to haunt me? My wife is beginning to suspect they might and she worries that she may not have me around in our Golden Years. Isn’t it sad that she should have to worry about that in America? Isn’t this the land of free speech? It seems not as we hear of countless cases of people who disagree politically with those in Washington being persecuted. For the moment, their persecution is limited to bureaucratic interference. Where will it go? Time will tell. Well, at least the government won’t have to waste any money spying one me. I’m revealing all on the Internet.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      @jack43:disqus – the irony is that the free speech that is restricted now is the free speech upon which our country was founded – basic truths. Now, we have to be politically correct whether it’s the truth or not!

  • David W.

    I have looked and looked on the Internet and have just never been able to find the notorious Paris Hilton sex tape.
    Now for a serious comment: You’re correct, whatever “good things” come from a new technology (flattening of unnecessary hierarchies, rapid access to otherwise obscure information) there are also “bad things” (unexpected and unavoidable scrutiny, abusive use of the tools).

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Well @7f990e539df4ddefe26884eb65a5f04c:disqus, all I can say is that your life is just NOT complete if you don’t see that tape!