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Why Your Kids Know More About the Future Than You Do

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So every family is an AOL family -- or soon will be. Seventeen million now. Looking to 35 million by 2002. In other words, there's not a lot of chance of going back.

It's ten o'clock. do you know where your teenager is? You don't. You don't have the vaguest idea. Worse, you don't even know that you don't know where your teenager is. This is partly because you're stupid -- the divide between what your child knows about technology and what you don't is going to be the source of tribulation and comedy for years to come. Now, it is true that unless you run a cyber company or are having cybersex yourself, there isn't a lot of reason to know about personal profiles and chat rooms and IMs and buddy lists and scanners and real-time audio players. But here we are.

And this is where your kid is. Down the hole. After the rabbit.

I could tell you how to follow your teen, pick up his or her trail, preserve those wayward electronic footprints, but you wouldn't do it anyway -- you're as likely to follow your kid into cyberspace as you are to program your VCR.

But if it's any consolation, this is not about teens, and it's not about violence, and it's not about you -- it's about media. That means that it will get larger and larger and more pervasive and more engulfing, and in fairly short order, it won't be strange or threatening at all, but just what we do -- just the technology that facilitates the context in which we live. Or else it won't, and then we'll give up on it and do something else.


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