Teenage online dating services
But while we’re consumed by the tangible dangers of messenging services like Kik, Yik Yak, After School and other anonymous apps, we may be missing a different influence: our own behavior.Kids today are often accused of being narcissistic, but they may be learning their exhibitionist ways from their parents.
And it’s girls—our daughters, granddaughters and nieces—who are most at risk in this online environment, which blends age-old sexism with a new notion of sexual liberation through being provocative.They were often highly aware of the adverse effects of the sexualization on girls—but not always sure what to do about it.“Sexism has filtered into new arenas that adults don’t see or understand because they’re not using social media the same way,” says Katie, a student I interviewed at Barnard.They carried shopping bags from Neiman Marcus, DKNY and Pink.I remarked to the girls how strange it seemed to see the mothers in the mall dressed so similarly to their daughters.Today, with smartphones and social media, we all have in our hands the means to broadcast our pride and joy to the world.
And we are cultivating our children’s online selves from birth—or even before, in utero.
Accompanying the boom in selfie culture is a rise in competitive spirit, as well as a disturbing trend of sexualization.
Likes, hearts, swipes—validation is only a tap away.
As the girls visited their social-media accounts, opening their Snapchats and liking and commenting on the Instagram posts of their friends, a parade of mothers and daughters drifted past, all dressed almost identically.
There were teenage girls in booty shorts and cleavage-baring tops, and mothers wearing almost exactly the same things, except with heels and bling.
And as we have seen in the recent abduction and murder of 13-year-old Nicole Lovell of Blacksburg, Va., concerns about online predators are more than just a moral panic: they stem from something real.