Online content: dangerous for the youth?

So I was reading an article online about red band movie trailers, and the very first line compared red band movie trailers to the former cigarette cartoon Joe Camel.  The idea being that showing graphic scenes in the red band trailers online is appealing to kids to go out and see graphic movies.  Now I’m not sure how much of this argument I agree with.  While I get the argument I just don’t think that seeing violent movies and becoming addicted to cigarettes are comparable, and I’m not sure how much the presence of online red band trailers is drastically affecting the amount of violence seen by our youth.

This however got me thinking about our youth and the internet, and keeping our recent discussions in mind, I am somewhat concerned about our youth.  Before I describe why I am concerned I will acknowledge the irony of this post that I am talking about how “technology of today is destroying our youth!” when I am in fact a youth that grew up in much of this technology (you can’t be a grumpy old “back in my day” guy when you are only 21, but who cares I’m doing it).  First, I would like to agree with Lessig when he says that much of the illegal activity that occurs on the internet affects the morality of our society and specifically the young.  While maybe this is not the internet’s fault, but rather a faulty legal system surrounding it is not important.  What I do think is important is many young people growing up breaking the law every day, and the effect that this has on their moral compass.  This came to my attention when I discussed online downloading with my mother a few weeks ago, and something that seemed horribly wrong to her seemed totally fine to me.  That concerned me.  My other concern for kids is the the things that they are being exposed to on the internet.  Now this does include things like, violent/sexual images, and sexual predators, but also  corporate influence.  After discussing facebook ads, and other forms of advertising and information collecting by big companies, I started to get scared for a generation that does not know how to maintain their privacy and protect themselves in the online realm.  I am not sure how much of a problem this is or what the solutions are, but I do know that I would like to consider myself somewhat of a smart, private, online user and I am sure that I am being totally ignorant and giving out way more than I think.  This just makes me fear for the people who aren’t as intelligent as me about these things (as little as that may be).

Anyway, this has been my “save our youth” rant.

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