“Kids, the Internet, and the End of Privacy”

In the small mid-western hick community where my family spent the early- to mid-eighties, you didn’t dare let people know you were different in any way. Fifties McCarthyism was still alive and well, but no communists presented themselves, so it was turned on anyone who was different in any way. Kids who couldn’t fit in were labeled “queers” and “fags,” and harassed daily and beaten up on occasion — and that was for little differences, like doing better than most in class or not liking football. God help anyone who was really thought to be gay. Being non-Christian wasn’t even a concept.

I don’t know how common that was elsewhere, or is today even in that backward community, but with that background it makes perfect sense to me that you keep anything the least bit different about you hidden, and only reveal it to the handful of close friends that you know you can trust. That’s why I find today’s kids so baffling, and I suspect why many others of my generation and older do too. And the kids apparently find us just as strange.

Kids, when you hear your elders making ridiculous noises about privacy, please re-read the above paragraphs and understand that the world was a much harsher and less accepting place when some of us were growing up. I’m glad you can be so much more open with your lives today, even if I don’t really grasp how you can do it.