under their influence

(day 22)

I guess this is going to sound very “get off my lawn” but I can’t help it. I won’t get into specifics on what triggered this post today for obvious reasons, but kids today are just so much more…advanced than we were. Social media, right? Or something? So scary.


I watched that Fyre Fest doc a while back. I think the Netflix one is more slanted but that’s the one I watched (but now I have Hulu because I asked the streaming gods for Hulu because Patricia Arquette and Joey King shot the miniseries version of Mommy Dead and Dearest and I love them both and that odd tragic story and then the streaming gods honestly listened and gave me Hulu free with the Spotify account I already pay for) but the reason I bring that doc up is because so many people bought into what boiled down to a hoax, really, kind of, and got ripped off big time in so many ways because there is such a thing as an influencer these days which means people who get rich on social media by basically telling normal people which things are cool. Yuck. Really? I mean Tiger Beat magazine and MTV did that for me and my ripped bleached jeans were dope.


But it just felt different. I don’t know. When George Michael or Kirk Cameron looked cool in something or doing something they did so while doing some kind of art, right? The influencers seem to be literally just fringe rich people who are pretty and maybe do Youtube or something and, honestly, are brilliant with this new system. But it’s bad. Kids feel the need to be or do too much too soon. Yes, when I was in fifth or 6th grade I dabbled in stealing my parents’ smokes or had a friend who reportedly snuck into the ole family liquor cabinet and was called in sick the next morning. But that was just us trying to be our parents or other adults we thought were cool. We weren’t being told, from every angle everyday, that we had to do certain things because we had to be cool.


I don’t mean to ruffle any feathers here but, conversely, when I hear someone say that a seven year old girl is dressed inappropriately because she has on a tank top or that her JoJo Siwa skirt rises above her knee or whatever and that she’s being raised to be a “slut” or “one of those kinds of girls” (yes, I have heard those things). You hear people saying that these little tiny children are being unnecessarily sexualized. What? No. You, just sexualized them by saying that. They are wearing what fits and what is affordable and maybe what is fashionable at the store but no, I doubt sexual allure went into any of the getting dressed part of the morning back at home while Paw Patrol played in the background and the Mickey Mouse pancakes were being made to order. If you see that in children then you’re looking for it. And no I don’t mean in a gross way, I just think your radar for this type of thing is tuned a little too sharp. Now some of those 5 years olds in dance and pageant work? That’s a whole world I’m not touching.


Sorry that was a tangent I felt applied. Anyways – as a teacher in fifth grade in a school that goes up to 6th grade, I have a very close relationship with 2 sets of kids at very formative ages. I can’t believe in such a short time the wide range of horrifying and otherwise disturbing issues I have been witness to. What world is this that kids are led to do such thing? I hate it so much.
So we limit the spread of rumors. We talk to those who aren’t involved as the buzz begins about kindness and inclusion over alienation and shame, all while saying “right but also don’t be like that.” The downside of caring so much is not being able to bird’s nest them all the time. This world will eat you up if you don’t have some version of shell protection. No matter what, it finds a way if you’re young and vulnerable to it. When we were kids we were just dumb. Today I think they’re actually too smart, just some of them, not in the right ways.

3 thoughts on “under their influence

  1. Nothing triggers me faster than the words “YouTuber” and “Influencer.” What happened to the good ol’ fashioned word – grifter? Are these not one in the same?


  2. As someone who grew up on the very verge of this kind of thing popping up- I share a lot of your same sentiments. I feel like I was forced to grow up too fast in some ways- and these kids are doing it at warp speed. I had to ban the names of two youtubers from my class last year because of the horrible things they represented. Yikes. Where are the days of dirty knees and swingsets till dusk? Scary to think they’re ancient remnants – discussed in tweets and ‘nostalgic’ youtube compilations.


  3. You hit on some hard truths in this one, almost with each line, with each progression. There is a huge difference between the stupidity and innocence of my youth and the sophisticated manipulation that assaults our students (and my own kids) at every turn.


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