Originally written on United We Dad, but since one of my buddies mentioned writing about this topic I thought I’d post it here too!
Remember the good ol’ days when you had to work hard to see a boob?
Yes, a boob. Like the part of a female’s body that most of us men are addicted to, no matter what shape or size. And yes boob, as in one. Sure we preferred to see them in a pair, but as a teenager I was happy with just seeing one.
Nowadays kids – and adults, but in my attempt to make this site a must-read blog about being a father, and attempting to raise three kids in this era I’m excusing the adults – have it too easy.
When I was a teenager we had to work to see boobs.
I know what you’re thinking. A guy with that kind of charm and sense of humor probably had girls clamoring all over him. Okay so you’re probably not thinking that, but for the sake of my ego, let’s pretend that one or two of you are. Well …
No. I wasn’t so good with the ladies. Look at me. I was six-feet tall, weighed 140-pounds, wore Reebok Pumps as an everyday shoe, and pretty much wore either the blue and orange of the San Diego Padres, or the purple and orange of the Phoenix Suns, with every outfit. The color orange with my complexion? I’m still not sure why my mom didn’t attempt to stop me from leaving the house every morning, bless her heart. To her defense, I was pretty much afraid of girls anyway, at least until my junior year in high school.
Back in my day we didn’t have the Internet. That’s right, hard to believe the World Wide Web didn’t become popular until after I graduated high school some 20 years ago this year!
Nope. If we wanted to see boobs on television we either had to hijack my parents’ copy of My Tutor (which I bought for my brothers and I a few Christmases ago as a gag-like gift, watched it with the wife, and realized it has a cheesy storyline and the scenes are just a softcore version of the make out scene in Top Gun) or stay up late at night hoping that the Spice channel would unscramble for at least 15 seconds, so we could at least make out one boob. “I think I saw one …” Nope, that was just a light fixture.
Hold on. I’m actually going somewhere with this, but when you search for “things that look like boobs” on the World Wide Web you get a lot of funny stuff.
Which reminds me of this classic line from Naked Gun and the now inoperative San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station we drive by on I-5 in northern San Diego County.
This week in fourth grade he learned about boy parts and how they function (I think I was in sixth grade when they introduced this to us).
Last week Lis and I sat down and surfed Netflix for a film to watch. I had heard from a Dad Bloggers group that the documentary Hot Girls Wanted was a must-see for anyone with a daughter (which we have), as it focuses on the amateur porn industry and girls that turn 18, bail from their little cities, all to make some serious cash (usually for a very short period of time), while basically destroying their bodies. It was disturbing, to say the least.
The film also had some shocking statistics that I couldn’t remember and have now spent 20 minutes searching for but can’t find. Let’s just say they are shocking, and talk about how porn is watched more than – well a lot of sites like Netflix, Hulu and Twitter (combined!).
In my attempt to keep my 10-year-old son innocent and dare I say, pure, these new distractions continue to become easier, more popular and heck, socially acceptable. We want our kids to be open-minded to the world out there. But speaking from some experience … it’s not. This crap will mess you, and possibly the ones close to you, up.
These days kids have the Internet, and a simple Google search for boobs will bring up … well, boobs (and funny memes about boobs).
Heck, even sitting down and watching an NFL game you’ll find sexual references in every commercial break. Carl’s Jr., Viagra (“Shouldn’t that have a man in it rather than a girl?” he asks.), and nearly every beer or car commercial.
Kids also have social media. Though Facebook and Instagram make it hard to post nudity, it’s not that hard to toss it on Twitter, or even worse (for us parents) Snapchat.
Seriously, not sure what the point of Snapchat is other than to send someone a picture of something they can only see for 10-15 seconds – like a boob.
NOTE: I’m using boob as an example throughout this post, because it seems to be the most innocent of all the crazy crap people send out on the Internet these days. When I’m saying ‘boob’ I’m really talking about EVERYTHING! Sex and nudity EVERYTHING! Because after all, everyone sends or records EVERYTHING these days!
I had a coworker of mine tell me about her 15-year-old son that had girls constantly sending pictures of their boobs to him using Snapchat. Um, first, not fair, and second, WHAT?! Were girls doing this when I was in school? Seriously, were you? I mean other than a Polaroid there was really no easy way to flash someone, unless you actually flashed them.
This and whatever app they may invent within the next few years scares me.
NOTE II: Again, I don’t want you to think I’m a prude. Yes, DISCLAIMER! I’m a Christian. But I’m also a father (Christian or not are most dads okay with their 15-year-old watching porn or receiving topless Snapchats from their classmates? Probably not right?), and a man. I’ll be honest and say I prefer a good Kate Upton selling me a silly game for me to play on my Android just like the next dude, but I’m also a father of three, and I want to make sure that these distractions don’t interrupt my attempting to teach kids about values, and to keep them focused on what is right and what is mostly wrong.
My oldest turns 11 later this year, and though he still thinks a girl in bikini is disgusting, that will likely change – and soon!
What am I to do? I can add a SafeSearch or filters at home, but that doesn’t stop the kids around him from sharing what they’ve explored.
A good friend of ours found porn on her phone that her 12-year-old was searching for. Oops!
I’m sorry. I know drugs run rampant in our schools, but the things that worry me the most are the things that are supposedly harmless, but I know can do more damage than some drugs.
It was easy for me to turn down pot when offered. I knew it was wrong, and I was okay with saying ‘No thank you’.
But sex and nudity… I mean boobs? That’s a different sort of obstacle. Something that has always been hard for me to turn down or away from – to this day. And the earlier they are aware of it, or have access to it, the harder it will be for them down the road.
I have two boys, I can guarantee one of them will have the horny Johnson gene. Right now my money is on the little guy just because he’s the one that shouts out ‘Boobs!’ when we pass the lingerie section at the store. He’s the one that stops his mom after her shower to ask her a question and ends up rubbing her leg for a little too long.
Yes, this boob thing is all a natural (at least the good ones are…get it?) part of life, but do we need to introduce them to it before they turn 10?
This world is starting to scare me, and it’s making it hard to raise a decent child in this day and age.
Shoot, I haven’t even touched on the bullying that I hear about from my coworkers that have kids in middle or high school. This isn’t the “toss him in the trash can” kind of bullying I was succumbed to. This is the throw horrible names at people via the Internet, hiding behind fake usernames or Twitter handles. It’s behind a keyboard, or a cellphone, saying how you feel and with no consequences. If you haven’t read the story about ex-baseball player Curt Schilling and him defending his daughter via Twitter, check it out here. It’s awful. People are awful, and it’s become easier to show your boobs, torture people, and destroy their character all with little to no consequences.
This scares me and worries me, and – in a positive – makes me a little more conscience or aware of what may be out there.
So what is your point Kevin? I don’t know. I guess I’m just worried. I know how much I struggled, or was distracted, in a time when distractions were tougher to come by. I worry that someone else, or something else will teach my kids about things I should teach them about.
(Apologies to my dad, but I don’t plan on giving the same “heartfelt” birds-and-bees chat he gave me before I left for Homecoming my Senior year. “Now son, girls can be dangerous, so be careful.” Um thanks? Minutes later wondering, “Did we just have the birds-and-bees talk?”)
And I guess that’s what it comes down to. Like other things I’ve written about in the past – using 42 to talk about racism, using sports to talk about drug use – it’s about having that open relationship, and conversation with my kids. I’ll need to sit down with my boys and talk to them about when is the right time to look at a boob.
I’ll also hold back on enabling them. We’re in no rush to get a phone for our child, or to have him sign up for social media. They don’t and won’t have a TV in their rooms, and we’ll also keep our “community” computer set up (and keep the door open when using it) for as long as we can.
As for my daughter … ahh crap, celibacy, a chastity belt, a double standard?
Absolutely. Boys are dangerous, so she has to be careful.