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IFCP in Full Fury

Yes, it's the Internet's fault your child sacrifices goats to Satan in the backyard

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, December 03, 1997.

The International Federation of Crappy Parents is in the News again, this time posing as Internet Mothers Against Smut and Pedophilia. Let me first say, that people who prey upon children for anything, be it sex or free labor, or just as a punching bag for their own failures, are the worst, and you will get no argument from me in their defense. My objection here, as in so much else, is that parents who enable their children to use the Internet and come into contact with such do not take the time to either learn how to use it themselves and still won’t spend the time learning or supervising their own children. So they involve the Federal Government, just as they do in Congressional Hearings when Beevis and Butthead started sounding like their own sons, or Ally McBeal’s skirts slip too high up the leg. There are several words that cover this: hypocritical, lazy, and stupid. Or, you know, American.

It’s also rather class oriented, isn’t it? Because of the people who can afford the Internet and the in-home hardware, they tend to be rather conservative. Conservative enough to demand that the government get out of the schools and out of their way and not bother them. But when it comes to covering up their humongous deficiencies as parents, they want the government right there, absorbing the blame that they don’t read to their kids much, that the kids watched them smoke dope, that they rarely attend school events other than as social occasions for themselves, that they really don’t have much interest in children unless they accomplish something that reflects well on the folks.

They don’t want to take the time to learn how to set their VCR, much less learn how to regulate what goes over their own computer, so they want the government to do this, and regulate it, but not raise taxes to pay for this regulation. They expect the FBI to monitor their children’s hours on the Internet, apparently for free, but object strongly to a tax raise to put some more cops on the beat in the Inner City, that euphemism for people of color and bad things that can happen to white, stupid people.

There never has been a real answer to the old observation that if you don’t like what’s on the television, you can turn it off. That worked for a while until the televisions started appearing in bus stations and airports and checkout lines, and now the conservatives could say: “See? We can’t turn it off! And there’s too much sex on television and not enough God!” Of course, hardly anyone really wanted it turned off, and this in-your-face illustrative example of mass hypocrisy bothered everyone.

But now, on the Internet, a much brighter spotlight on lousy parents lurks. If your kid gets into trouble on the Internet, it means the child learned to do so by taking lots of time to learn. You should have known that if you’d been paying attention. The child also must have learned how to seek out the Web sites where these creepy adults lurk. That’s more time you weren’t paying attention. But far worse, it means the kid is lonely and unhappy enough to take the time to seek these people out, consciously or not, and that speaks volumes about the folks.

It apparently is one thing if trailer parks periodically produce the recently sobered up parents at a trial where they discover the fruit of their loins had been worshipping Satan. Nobody is shocked when the press reveals these charming kids had been sacrificing goats by the hibachi for the last six months before moving on to some sick murder in the community. Everybody knows that poor people are drunk and don’t take care of their kids.

But middle class and above parents don’t like having to admit they never knew what the kids were doing of the Internet hour after hour before sneaking off to meet sleazy adults - also without the parents having a clue - and maybe into some prolonged horror before being discovered. And if there is an incident, and this gets into the press, my God! The neighbors might think we work for Access Graphics. Call the Vice President and lets get this thing settled. And what time is Ally McBeal on?