Doing Dumb Sh*t in the Digital Age…what one 16 year old will learn

Back when I was 16, I thought I was damn near grown and knew everything. At 16, I had discovered the joys of Southern Comfort and sensimilla and pretty much forgot that my only real task at 16 was to go to school and strive to be a productive member of society. Instead I left the house every day, went to school, dropped my stuff off in my locker and promptly left school to go hang out and get high. Thanks to my dad’s diagnosis of throat cancer, my parents were a tad preoccupied and didn’t notice that I came home daily with my eyes glazed like a Krispy Kreme donut and since I had perfected the art of signing my mother’s signature, no one knew that I had pretty much stopped going to most of my classes.

However all good things must come to an end, looking back I can’t recall what exactly tipped my folks off to the fact that I had basically decided my only goal in life was to be high and do dumb shit, but it may have started when I came home drunk at 4am. My reward for coming home sloppy drunk at 16 at 4am was my dad in his fragile state, backhanding me into the kitchen cabinet. That slap was legendary, my brother who was just a little kid at the time and is now 30, still remembers that moment….sadly I do too. I did a lot of shit as a teenager that over the years I have come to regret, thankfully I outgrew it all. You couldn’t pay me to drink Southern Comfort and I couldn’t even tell you how to buy weed these days. Thankfully none of the dumb shit that I did as a teenager involved making stupid statements and comments other than the time I killed my mom off with a Mack truck as an excuse to not go to gym class.

Sadly, 16-year-old Alyssa Douglass, of Clarksville, Ohio, decided on Thursday night to tweet a little something that chances are will impact her life for years to come. I won’t type the full tweet but the short and not so sweet is that she said someone should assassinate the president. I actually saw the original tweet in my own timeline on Twitter and went to look at her page and figured out she was probably a kid. Well others did more and in the end, the Secret Service is investigating. Now Alyssa is getting a lot of heat which she deserves, age is not a license to possibly break the law. Many are enraged and frankly being as hateful as Alyssa’s original comment was towards President Obama.

I read a great piece that addressed the situation but in the end, while Alyssa needs to know that for every action there is a reaction, I fault the adults in her life. A sixteen year old girl doesn’t just get hateful ideas in her mind on her own, somewhere there are people whose hateful views she is parroting. The adults in her life need to be investigated as well since while she made the choice to write that tweet, someone planted the seeds and that is the real crime.

As for Alyssa, she is learning a lesson that frankly I can’t imagine learning at that age, that in the digital age, nothing you put out in the public sphere is private. Even if the Secret Service and powers to be determine that this was nothing more than a youthful prank, Alyssa will be answering the question of why she did this for a long time.

Kids are prone to making mistakes and doing dumb shit, for many young adults and kids, it’s part of their learning process. We need to be called out on our mistakes but we also need to be  given a chance to move on from those mistakes. Yet in the day and age where the past lives forever, as a mother I fear that the lessons Alyssa learns from this incident will haunt her for years to come.


3 thoughts on “Doing Dumb Sh*t in the Digital Age…what one 16 year old will learn”

  1. Thank you for writing this. I completely agree that every teen will have their moments of complete foolishness, but there are boundaries we must not cross, regardless of the end result (assuming she does not get charged) the fragments of her actions will for every be imbedded in her life.

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