back to article Facebook Messenger ... for who now? Zuck points his digital crack at ever younger kids

"Won't somebody think of the children!" Hur hur. It's the great, sarcastic war cry of the childless middle aged tech guy. For example, when somebody wants to restrict extreme smut. "Won't somebody think of the children?!?" cries Shed Man. Cackle cackle. Sure, let nobody think of the children, ever, and let's see what kind of …

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"Year 6 children, or 10-year-olds, routinely use WhatsApp groups, parents tell me. If you do not use the class's WhatsApp group, you're ostracised. Your child is the weird one, whose parents didn't buy them an iPhone."

Who knew such a day would dawn when a parent whose child doesn't use a electronic device as a pseudo-nanny/babysitter would be classed as "weird".

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It has nothing to do with using an iNanny and more to do with the expectations of kids these days.

They expect access to YouTube, Skype, Messenger, etc to stay in touch with their school mates?

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Thumb Up

Simple solution, teach the kids who don't have smartphones and social media accounts that they will develop into superior, well-rounded people, who won't have to hire an army of scrubbers to remove all that stupid shit they did as a kid off the internet (oo-er).

A nice sense of elitism should act as a barrier to being sneered at by the moron-brigade.

Tell your kids that everyone else is in a race to the bottom, a race which none of them can actually win. The only winning move is not to play.

Probability of success: Fairly high if kid has enough resilience and self-awareness, plus lots of parental support and positive re-inforcement.

Probability of it happening: Who am I kidding? It'll never happen, because...SHINY!!

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"Year 6 children, or 10-year-olds, routinely use WhatsApp groups

Who knew such a day would dawn when a parent whose child doesn't use a electronic device as a pseudo-nanny/babysitter would be classed as "weird".

Mine do no have a problem being the "weird ones". They also have no problem disassembling anyone who tries to make a problem out of them being weird. No hesitation to do so either and they have my full support in this too.

As they are in the top 0.1% in terms of physical fitness for their age group, they usually have no need to get as far as disassembling anyone either - nobody dares.

They also very happily live without FaceBook and with real (not Face) Books to keep them company.

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If you do not use the class's WhatsApp group, you're ostracised.

I'd just like to point out that this is not anything new - the ostracizing part that is. In my day wearing the wrong kind of shoes was the uncool thing that got you shunned. So if it isn't an app it'll be something else that your children's peer group will use to divide themselves into groups.

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Back in the early 1980s a couple of my friends refused to have a TV. They kept getting visits from the TV licensing people who refused to believe that any one would NOT have a TV on purpose. That they could handle, but they eventually caved in when the school was asking the kids to discuss popular TV soap operas, and their 9 yo was having to support a football team that he'd never seen.

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Re: "Year 6 children, or 10-year-olds, routinely use WhatsApp groups

So because your kids are bigger/stronger than everyone else's, they can thump anyone who teases them? Well, I suppose it might work for you and for them, but it doesn't sound like a scalable solution to a widespread problem. Still, you must be terribly proud.

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Anonymous Coward

Probability of it happening:

you're absolutely right, they're given this poison at this one crucial point in life, where all that matters is being a part of a pack. At this age it would take incredible strength and resilience to ignore this pressure and ignore it continuously. If you do, you WILL be hounded, every day, you will be a leper, for the next 6 - 8 years.

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Re: "Year 6 children, or 10-year-olds, routinely use WhatsApp groups

So because your kids are bigger/stronger than everyone else's, they can thump anyone who teases them?

Yes. And that is exactly what should happen. Keeps sociopathy at bay instead of letting it develop into a fully blown arseholeness. Bullies are usually cowards. A good rapid unscheduled disassembly usually deals with that. Especially if it is repeated a couple of times when they pick on OTHER weaker kids.

As far as proud - it is out of necessity. The choice was either a Spartan fitness regime or the rest of the life on an inhaler. In fact, the inhalers were already prescribed and put on the shelf next to their beds - in both cases.

As a parent I am quite proud to force the first option (I needed ear plugs not to listen to their mother in both cases). The inhalers have had no use ever since. One has been collecting dust for 10 years now, the other 5.

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Re: "Year 6 children, or 10-year-olds, routinely use WhatsApp groups

FFS.

OK VRH, your advice will be rolled out to all kids immediately and we will have our utopia.

All kids will be joining your kids in the top 0.1% for physical fitness and all kids will be bigger and stronger than all other kids.

I really have no idea why we haven't been doing it this way all along.

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Facepalm

Re: "Year 6 children, or 10-year-olds, routinely use WhatsApp groups

OK VRH, your advice will be rolled out to all kids immediately and we will have our utopia.

That's a bit disingenuous if you ask me. If part of taking VRH's advice is ditching the social media and smartphones then there wouldn't be a need to defend one's self from the 'pack' who have those devices as you would no longer be counted weird for not having them.

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Anonymous Coward

As a childless curmudgeon.

Having children should not be a right but a privilege.

Children appear to be seen as a meal ticket these days, the more you have, the more £££ the govt will give you.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I lament the world kids are being forced to grow up in and with ever increasing population numbers, things are only EVER going to worsen.

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Re: As a childless curmudgeon.

Having children is biology, it's not a right, or a privilege. The second you start saying who can and can't have kids you end up in some very dodgy waters. (or at the least an ageing population problem a few generations down the line).

Children appear to be seen as a meal ticket these days, the more you have, the more £££ the govt will give you

Do you have any evidence of this? I'm firmly in middle age now, and remember people saying similar when I was growing up. Has it got worse since? Isn't it just that if you have a system that takes care of the poor and disadvantaged you will also end up taking care of a percentage of the lazy and shameless too?

I lament the world kids are being forced to grow up in

Why? Genuinely why? Is it much worse now than it was 'then'? (I accept we're currently in a period I suspect we'll come to refer to as 'the batshit insane years' but I hope it's just a 'blip')

But on a day to day actually living life level is it any worse? I look at my sister and her husband, they're a similar income level to my parents were when we were growing up (probably slightly worse), however their two kids have far more toys, etc, than we did growing up? They're well fed and happy and also living in a world with a diverse range of knowledge and entertainment at their fingertips. (No black and white tv watching late night ITV for them). They're certainly not worse off. Also, according to the ONS crime has fallen dramatically overall since the mid 90s so they're safer too.

and with ever increasing population numbers, things are only EVER going to worsen.

"Soooooommmeeeee things in life are bad...."

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Re: As a childless curmudgeon.

Uphill both ways, barefoot, in the snow, carrying my sister.

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the more you have, the more £££ the govt will give you.

Really? As a working class drone who "does OK" with an equally well off wife, I can tell you that little people cost a fortune and it isn't the government picking up our bills

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Joke

Re: As a childless curmudgeon.

I suspect the reason you are childless may be your very attractive personality

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Re: As a childless curmudgeon.

"Has it got worse since?"

The rule in England is, or soon will be, that only the first two children are an entitlement to extra state money.

What children do appear to lack is freedom. They are often constrained to a small physical area and rarely out of their parent's surveillance.

Except that many do have their own room as effectively a private domain. In my day bedrooms were only for sleeping - and weren't heated unless you were ill enough to be kept in bed for several days. Sleepovers were unheard of.

During school holidays: when our parents were at work we were locked out of the house - but so were our playmates. Toilets were outside so no problem there - and could be used as a shelter if it rained very heavily.

From about the age of 7 we walked to school on our own - merging with groups of school pals as we progressed. Ditto going to Saturday morning cinema.

Laws have changed such that in many cases 17 year olds are treated as "children" rather than the "almost adults" that they are. There used to be sensible age differentiations regarding the ability of a child to take on responsibility. Paradoxically the age of criminal responsibility in England is set at the low bar of 10 years old.

Needing to keep children at school for longer to (theoretically) produce a more skilled workforce - has been conflated in many quarters with treating them as unable to behave responsibly.

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Re: As a childless curmudgeon.

Dear sir,

Quote:

Having children is biology, it's not a right, or a privilege

More and more that biology is helped along by medicine (rightly or wrongly). So privilege sounds more correct than pure biology.

Best regards,

Guus

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Re: As a childless curmudgeon.

Yes, but your sister was carrying your books, so at least she was helping.

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Re: As a childless curmudgeon.

Saturday morning Pictures!

Have an upvote for that.

Then in the summer holidays we build camps. Both underground and up trees. No real Adult supervision or Hinder & Stop in those days. The most common injury was treading on a nail. Never mind, the Hospital was just a few hundred hops away along town Barn Road.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: As a childless curmudgeon.

Social darwinism right there. No one wanted to procreate with him.

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Re: @ Dr Stephen Jones As a childless curmudgeon.

It seems to me, that painting poor people who are dependent upon government assistance as moochers does a disservice to the real moochers in society.

The tax evaders, government-rescued bankers, and others of that sort.

People with economic troubles will not have the mental surplus to do much else than trying to find a way to get by. That's the exact reason why you need a better and more comprehensive social assistance system. Not a system that merely sends you a wad of money at set intervals, but that tries to break with a "family tradition" of low social status.

The lack of mental surplus is why people in dire financial straits might be more inclined to grab at whatever money is offered, while people doing great have the mental surplus to try and work out how to better screw over society and avoid contributing.

What should be done is not cutting welfare, but increasing it's type and cost to create benefits in the future. It isn't just about the parents, it is about ensuring that the child or children have an actual chance at leading a life worth - to themselves - living. Just because a child's parents find themselves "mooching" is no reason to punish the child, and if you do, you'll almost inevitably end up condemning the child to a similar life.

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Re: @ Dr Stephen Jones As a childless curmudgeon.

Quite frankly, you should fucking thank me and my SOH for being the least possible drain on this countries dwindling resources.

Indeed. By this point, I am truly grateful you have decided not to procreate.

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Re: As a childless curmudgeon.

>>Children appear to be seen as a meal ticket these days, the more you have, the more £££ the govt will give you.

Your post comes across more as a Daily Mail style rant against "bloody scroungers" than anything that has a degree of relevance to the original topic.

Go on, tell us about the immigrunts.

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Re: the more you have, the more £££ the govt will give you.

well, he probably means a (quite small) minority of people who don't do (much or any) work but producing more and more kids, which lands them in a 3 - 5 bedroom house, where a hard-working couple can't afford a deposit for a 2 bedroom house (should they wish to expand into 2+2). I'm sure it does happen, but then, this is a tiny, yet visible (and highly audible :) minority. In fact, the ones I observe daily at school, while they do seem to multiply like gremlins, the father works, and they seem like a very happy and friendly family (I don't think I'd swap for their x-bedroom house, this luxury comes with x-occupants!).

But then, everybody takes an extreme case and makes it into a rule...

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Re: As a childless curmudgeon.

"More and more that biology is helped along by medicine (rightly or wrongly). So privilege sounds more correct than pure biology."

Absolutely. There's a lot of pressure to be 'normal' and have children. It's something you don't experience unless you are a childless adult. My girlfriend can't have children and is often upset by inconsiderate comments or simply by being excluded from events/conversations.

The government and businesses encourage the production of children to ensure a future workforce and the more the better (the great god Growth must be appeased). But how much longer can a country/world with finite resources grow? Why do we have to grow? Does growth bring only positives? We know this not to be the case. Perhaps it's time for a new way?

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Re: @ Dr Stephen Jones As a childless curmudgeon.

Quite frankly, you should fucking thank me and my SOH for being the least possible drain on this countries dwindling resources.

And when you are retired and drawing a state pension you can thank the rest of us for providing the workforce that provides the money.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @ Dr Stephen Jones As a childless curmudgeon.

I pay into a pension and pay tax and NI, I'm providing for my own future thanks very much.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @ Dr Stephen Jones As a childless curmudgeon.

And you think I have a problem with that????

ROFL.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: As a childless curmudgeon.

I'm the one in the LTR, not the pasty faced hand shandy barista in his bedroom.

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Re: @ Dr Stephen Jones As a childless curmudgeon.

You are paying tax and NI for current pensioners, not for when you are a pensioner.

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The Facebook (and Apple, etc) 13 age limit I think comes from US law and clearly it's widely ignored. There are some proper under 13 services, but only Skype seems "legal" as MS (bless) have children accounts for parents to manage. Apple recently did something similar.

Trouble (as a parent) is actually that most of my kids friends are on line and text already, but most end up with their parents accounts (or accounts with the wrong age entered) so you don't know that there really is a kid at the other end. They (11 yr olds in my case) already on snapchat, Instagram, you name it - 90% of parents don't really understand it - it's the wild west!

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"90% of parents don't really understand it"

90% of parents don't want to understand it. It's really not difficult to understand how it works. But if they understood the problem, and they didn't deal with the problem, then when something goes wrong it can be argued as their fault. But if they're ignorant to it, and something happens, then they can always blame the companies for allowing it to happen.

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90% of parents don't really understand it.

This is a common refrain which might have been true 20 years ago, but 90% of parents with 10 yo kids grew up with the internet. They know all about texting, messaging, whatsapp, and all the rest of the bullshit apps.

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Anonymous Coward

...Zuck points his digital crack at ever younger kids....

Jeez, arrest the pervert already!

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Anonymous Coward

What price can you put on the interactions of children when it comes to marketing and advertising?

Sure you may not be using this to actively advertise towards children but I'm pretty sure using their interactions and what they like you can ascertain what will work when they are older.

I hope one day facebook dies a fiery death.

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It's things like this that make me relieved I don't have children - I genuinely feel for any parent that has to deal with this sort of bollocks.

And who's fault will it be when (not if) the first evidence of misuse by innaproriate adults comes to light?

Not Zuck's, that's for sure...

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Unhappy

From cradle to grave!

Zuck's nasty little insidious advertising tat bazaar. People's entire lives mapped out, tagged, recorded and analyzed the to Nth degree, from the second you learn to type to the second you kick your bucket, Zuck will have it all and it'll be sold on to the highest bidder.

Sad, pathetic little species we are.

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Meh

It make me wonder why UKGov repeatedly parrots the lines that the "Tech Companies" need to do "something" to prevent child abuse / terrorism/ cyber threats, when its clear that said Tech Companies do not seem to care what UKGov thinks as long as they can continue to monetarise their product. Any "conversations" seem to be lip service that's got the aim of doing just enough to avoid regulation but not really make a heck of a difference.

I can fully understand the request to do something, I just wonder why UKGov can't see that without a suitable stick to force any company into action its very unlikely that these requests will bear any fruit. After all they are usually not UK based so seem to manage to skirt most of the ways they could be forced to action.

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UK.gov could do something and just pass a damn law or two, but the mass of PPEs are incapable of formulating what it should be.

The 13 year old limit only exists because someone in the US decided to pass the COPPA law, if it weren't for that kids in the UK would be completely defenceless.

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The EU has had some success in constraining the behaviour of the large tech companies. Thankfully we in the UK will soon have no part of that nonsense and can continue an uninterrupted journey to the bottom as a low-regulation, low-tax billionaires' paradise.

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Parenting.

Isn't what it used to be, quite obviously.

Couple years back, there was a little discussion about Faecesbooks age limit of 13. I said it is my understanding that kids younger than that use it.

One woman chirps up, Yeah, my seven year old does. She seemed ever so boastful about it too. And no doubt she expects, indeed is entitled to, the rest of society to help her with subsequent problems.

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re the UK Gov doing something.

Do you honestly think that large, very large sections of the UK Gov, incl local gov, and the various social services, and such as the BBC actually care either?

Read the Guardian front page story a few weeks back re parental alienation, yeah, truly "groundbreaking" in 2017, and then compare that to their output in the last 20-30 years.

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Tom Lehrer

He gives the kids free samples / Because he knows full well / That today's young innocent faces / Will be tomorrow's clientele

The Old Dope Peddler

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Jeremy Hunt

Right or wrong, the last several years have conditioned me to associate anything this person says, with lying, malevolent, fuck wittery. If he's seriously wanting to speak up against something, and wants support he should deploy reverse psychology and speak in favour of the thing he opposes.

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OK...

WTF is "shed man"?

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Re: OK...

Exactly!

I was wondering how Colin Furze came into this.

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Joke

Re: OK...

>WTF is "shed man"?

Half a step above Neanderthal, methinks.

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Holmes

Re: OK...

"WTF is "shed man"?"

Sounds like an echo of some childhood trauma...

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