VanDyk Mortgage - February 2020


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What’s the dumbest thing you ever did as a teenager?

We all have that story we never told our parents until we were too old for them to ground us. Those experiences are part of being a teenager. My oldest is 12 and I’ve been thinking about how his teenage experiences will be different from mine. A big thing that comes to mind is the ever-present force of social media. Can you imagine what life would have been like if your friends posted about your teenage antics online for the world to see? I grew up in the 80s–90s, when the Sega Genesis and Nintendo were cutting edge. Today, everyone has a supercomputer in their pocket. My kids have to worry about someone taking a picture of them at any moment. I can’t imagine what would have happened if someone posted a video of me at 17 partying in the woods after I told my parents I was going to a movie — not that I ever did that, of course. The point is that being a teenager would have been totally different if I had to worry about someone pulling out their phone and livestreaming me. Smartphones would have made my life way worse when I was a teenager, and not just because my family would have clamped down on everything I ever did until I was 30. I see the kind of things kids today have to deal with when it comes to social media and it’s rough. Being a teenager is hard enough without the eyes of the entire internet on you. You can’t help but wonder the kind of impact this attention will have on this generation. “Smartphones would have made my life way worse when I was a teenager …”

When I was a teenager, I could make a fool of myself and totally fail, and only two of my friends were around. Today, kids have the entire world watching. One silly mistake can be livestreamed and suddenly it goes viral. They’re surrounded by live mics and cameras ready to catch every mistake. We can be recorded at a drop of the hat and never know it. How does that impact a kid when making mistakes is part of growing up? None of this is to say I’m anti-modern technology. A lot of it is pretty great. I would have loved to play video games online with my friends and cousins when I was a kid! I see my son get on his Xbox to play with his friends and they’re always laughing and having a great time. There are a lot of things about modern technology that makes being a kid look pretty fun. Social media just isn’t one of those things.

All I can say is thank God I didn’t grow up with smartphones!

NMLS #354676

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