Letting Kids Be Idiots

Recently, a lot of news has been made about Parkland School shooting survivor, Kyle Kashuv. He lost his future slot at Harvard because of racially insensitive comments he made in some text messages when he was only 16. He has since apologized for those remarks, but Harvard is having none of it. This unfortunate incident illustrates how kids today are going to be haunted for the rest of their lives by every derogatory post, tweet, and photo they ever posted online. In 2010, Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt said today’s youth will eventually have to change their names in an attempt to escape their cyber past.

When did things get so completely out of control? I know we’re living in a digital age, but the problem is that we’ve stopped letting kids be kids. They are going to make blunders when they’re young and stupid. God knows, I did. Part of growing up is making some truly awful decisions and learning how to live with them. How are they ever going to triumph over their bad choices, when somewhere in cyberspace, there is a digital record of every dumb thing they have ever done? If kids aren’t allowed to be idiots, the coping skills they would normally acquire as adolescents will be taken away and replaced by police-state paranoia. They’ll constantly have to self-edit what they’re saying and doing at all times, for fear that Cyber Big Brother is looking over their shoulders.

In this case, the kid from Parkland is a Conservative and a gun rights advocate. Of course, the people on the Left are quick to call him a racist and say he doesn’t deserve to go to Harvard. Naturally, folks on the Right have come to his defense. However, what if the shoe was on the other foot? What if it was discovered that fellow Parkland student and anti-gun advocate David Hogg, had made similar comments when he was only 16? I’m sure the crowd on the Left would find a way to excuse his actions, and the pack on the Right would be calling him a hypocrite. Kids need to be allowed to make mistakes without online trolls cutting them to pieces.

That’s why we have the juvenile justice system. It was set up so crimes committed by little hooligans wouldn’t follow them into adulthood. In the immortal words of Dean Wormer, “Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son”. So what do you say? Let’s give the kids a break. We all did foolish stuff when we were young and we can thank God there isn’t a digital smoking gun of our misdeeds out there, just waiting to be discovered by our kids. We sure would have lots of ‘splainin’ to do. I shudder at the thought. So, let kids be idiots. It’s the only way they’re going to learn.

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