Kids These Days

It Sucks to Be a Teen on the Internet Today

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In the mid-90s, when this reporter was in elementary school, we developed a code for AOL instant messenger to alert our chat buddies whenever our parents had entered the room or were looking over our shoulders. “1,” we would type, when they were lurking around, to let our buddies know not to type anything inappropriate, and “11” when they eventually left.

We were rarely actually talking about anything that could get us into real trouble–back then “inappropriate” meant the boys we had crushes on and articles about the Spice Girls that we weren’t technically allowed to read because they were in grownup magazines likeĀ Vogue. But we enjoyed the conspiratorial feeling of having a secret language, of having something that belonged to us and only us. It was a treasured part of being young–and it is apparently something that teens today don’t get to enjoy.

According to an article in theĀ New York Times, parents are using our quantitative obsession to track their teens’ every move. And it’s not just online, but on their phones, in the car and when they’re out and about, too. Read More