Tag Archives: Adult

Exposing Yourself. . .

It’s a simple rule: Never post anything online that you wouldn’t want to explain to your mother. Or father. Or any other similarly judgmental familial relation.

And, yes, it’s being ignored right, left, up, down, sideways by just about everyone younger than 30.

This came to mind when the friendly confines of Casa de Dude were invaded by the raucous laughter of the Siren, a friend from college of my wife’s, known to me as She Who Must Be Strutting. The Siren was driving her youngest little dude, Robert Bob, up to boarding school.

The two ladies were out for a drink with friends, one of those sorts of gatherings where mammary glands are required, but gonadal possession in the first degree is prohibited, so I was left at home with Hyper Lad and Robert Bob, both of whom are of an age. Not a problem for me. It was the first Saturday night of college football season. They had video games. We all had pizza. Good time for the dudes.

Anyway. We were talking over piping hot slices and I happened to ask Robert Bob what sort of messaging app he used on his phone. He immediately told me it was SnapChat. For those of you not in the know, SnapChat is an app that allows you to send a photo to someone else on the service. The catch is that the picture you send will self destruct 10 seconds after first viewing.

Which, to most of us older folks, sounds like a recipe for the users to start sharing — oh, I don’t know — naked pictures of themselves, secure in the knowledge that the photo will never, ever, no possible way get out into the wider internet and be seen by anyone else but the intended recipient and then only for 10 seconds. Were you readers able to detect the sarcasm there?

So I asked Robert Bob why he felt safe sending those pictures (not that he was sending naked selfies. He wasn’t. Just asking a younger person in general.). After all, anyone receiving one of those pictures could easily take a screenshot of the picture as it was displayed on the phone.

Well, says Robert Bob, with the smug manner of someone who has considered that question coming from an adult and already has an answer that will completely deflate said old person and send them packing with tails between legs, “The app always lets you know if someone takes a screenshot.”

I waited. He kept looking smug.

“And?” I asked.

“And what else?”

“What do you mean what else?” he said.

And I went on to ask, in some detail, how knowing that someone had taken a screenshot and now had a long-lasting image of whatever picture you’d just sent to him or her will help you control whether or not that image now goes online, to be widely disseminated throughout the world-wide web.

To which he replied, “Uuuuhhhhhhhhh. . . ”

Yeah. That.

Understand, Robert Bob is an intelligent, well-reared, thoughtful, considerate young dude, but that question never even crossed his mind. I shudder to think of those young dudes and dudettes not quite at Robert Bob’s level and what happens to them.

Let me make one more thing very clear: This is not a call to arms for parents to start taking away phones or slamming down the metaphorical boot on the informational neck of their little dudes and dudettes. There will always be a new app, a new way to connect with others that you won’t know about and so can’t stop.

The only constant will be your child. If your child has sense enough to be careful and present only a carefully constructed version of themselves online, then you’re good. I consider this to be something like the sex conversation. It’s not something you have one time and then it’s done.

The sex conversation is an ongoing dialogue between you and your child. So should the public oversharing conversation be. Start early and continue the conversation at every opportunity.

Otherwise, unfortunately, there could be consequences.

About which we’ll talk tomorrow.

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Memories Not So Reliable After All

Paper trails and electronic logs are all well and good, but it’s eyewitness testimony that really seals the deal.

But it probably shouldn’t be the case.

New research is showing that the human memory is a lot less like a reliable camera recording everything that happens and then transcribing it back unchanged and a lot more like a game of telephone with a bunch of drunks passing the information along down the line. Although that might be a bit insulting to the drunks.

Elizabeth  Loftus is a cognitive psychologist and expert on the malleability of human memory. You might remember her from the hullaballoo her work has caused in the past. Or maybe not.

Her first big foray into the public consciousness was when she began researching car wrecks in the early 1970s. She would show video of car collisions and then ask questions of the viewers. Even though they saw the same thing, the subjects certainly didn’t see the same thing.

Their answers depended greatly on how she phrased the question. For instance, if she asked how fast the cars were going when they “smashed” into each other, people estimated, on average, that the cars were going 7 mph faster than when she substituted the word “hit” for “smashed.” And a week after seeing the video, those who were asked using the word “smashed” remembered seeing broken glass, even though there was none in the film.

When she asked the subjects about “a broken headlight,” only a few remembered seeing one, even though there were no broken headlights before the collision. When she asked about “the broken headlight,” people were much more likely to misremember it as being present.

In the mid 1990s, Loftus again bloomed in the public eye when her research showed the hazards and pitfalls of believing in the truth of repressed memories. Those are memories that are so traumatic that the person pushes them down and completely forgets about them. Until a skillful therapist begins working with them and bringing the truth out.

It was Loftus’ contention, backed by research, that these memories were, rather than being repressed by the patient, actually being created by the therapist.

“I don’t think there’s any credible, scientific support for this notion of massive repression,” Loftus says. “It’s been my position that, you know, we may one day find (the evidence), but until we do, we shouldn’t be locking people up.”

There’s even some current talk about how dudes can learn to lose weight by using false memories. In the past, Loftus has caused people to create false memories of getting sick from eating strawberry ice cream as a child. This has caused the folks to swear off the sweet stuff. Could we use that to help our adult selves, or even growing selves, rethink how we approach food?

It’s some really fascinating stuff. The CNN article where I found most of this stuff has some more great information in it, including a fascinating discussion on whether or not people would choose to take a drug that would demolish a highly traumatic memory. Go read it. Definitely worth your time.

 

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Showing Off At The Expo

This is a report, live from the Baby Shower & Toddler Expo. Well, not live, per se. But live in that I’m sitting at our table in the Expo while I’m typing this.

Don’t you just love technology? Out somewhere far away from electricity and internet communication and yet I’m still able to get across all this great stuff. Okay, fine. For certain very not great values of great, but you get the idea.
Barry and I went down to the Baby Shower & Toddler Expo at the Park Convention Center in Charlotte to tell people about our book, A Dude’s Guide to Babies. And maybe sell a few. We did.

I also discovered that I still have an exceedingly low tolerance for kiddie music. Not music that kids like, but music specifically designed for something to which kids should listen.

You know the kind.

We were serenaded by a kid puppet show at least four times during the Expo. Four times, these giant-headed puppet things came out and, in squeaky high voices pitched in such a way to be deliberately horrifying to adult ears.
And then they sang. Well, they did have a human singer and he was good, actually. Quite good. But the puppet things. Their loud, loud recorded voices. . .

I learned that not only is Hell real, it has a house band.

But enough whining. No, seriously. Enough whining. I’m not kidding.

Barry and I had a great time talking to the dudes who walked past our booth. We met a lot of really interesting folks, both pregnant and not-pregnant.

Not only that, but we managed to meet most of the other exhibitors and found them to be a really nice bunch of people. Lots of cool things on offer, including some astonishingly creative and talented photographers. More about whom later.

I also learned that I still have an amazingly soft spot for little babies. They’re so little and so cute and so soft and. . . Well, suffice to say, I quite enjoyed seeing them toddle by. Even better when their moms and dads stopped by the booth and I got to say hi. Even better, I got to let go of them and watch them wander off with their parents before they started screaming, fussing and needing to be changed. Yeah, grandparents really do seem to have the right idea.
Now the only question we’re left with is, do we go down to Atlanta for the next Expo? Long drive, overnight. Long hours. On the plus side, I’d not have to cook anyone’s meals and be able to control the remote. Maybe, maybe.

If you’re one of the folks Barry and I met down at the Expo, thanks so much for stopping by. It was great meeting all of you. If you’re the one who stayed away. . . We have a very particular set of skills. We will find you. We will k–
You know what? That really doesn’t work if you don’t have Liam Neeson’s voice.

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