Dear Grandparenting: I don’t really understand what happens when something on the Internet is “hacked.” I do understand this much. My grandson is a dirtball. He ought to be darn ashamed of himself until his dying breath.
My lover boy grandson’s name came up when an Internet place called Ashley Madison was “hacked.” It was a big news story. Ashley Madison is or was in the business of arranging affairs and sexual encounters. My grandson had joined up! He was on their list! He says he thought no one would ever find out. Now his name is smeared and so is our family name. My grandson is only 17!! I figure he’ll be lucky to ever get a job. How can he ever live this down? Sarge Bevans, Miami, Florida
Dear Sarge: Sex sells, and it sells so well on the Internet because technology promises to provide anonymity and convenience. And if you’re married or in a committed relationship — which happens to be Ashley Madison’s target audience — discretion and ease of hooking up are paramount, so as not to arouse suspicion. Ashley Madison didn’t actually arrange trysts — it served as a means for men and women to communicate with each other, and then let the chips fall where they may. After the hackers exploited a weakness in the company’s computer system to surreptitiously gain entry to Ashley Madison’s membership data, it was revealed there were 31 million male members and 5.5 million females. Of that 5.5 million, the overwhelming majority was inactive and/or fraudulent.
What are we to make of your grandson? Did anyone bother to ask if he actually engaged in hanky-panky? We suspect he joined up on a bet or dare, or to boast about it with his friends. In today’s hypersexual teenage society, it confers bragging rights and easy notoriety. While we can’t blame any grandparent for being appalled, we think your grandson is mainly guilty of bad judgment.
Is he marked for life as the outlaw bad boy? We think not. Your grandson is more like another face in the crowd. Thanks to the Internet, far too many grandchildren are falling over themselves in their haste to put all manner of tasteless, idiotic and/or highly sexualized content in the digital arena. It’s a race to the bottom, a crass competition of one-upmanship. The greater question is this: Who pushed the off button for parental oversight that teaches good values?
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Lee Lewis of Marshall, Michigan, was fed up with grandson John’s complaining.
“Stop it! I don’t hear your father complain like that.”
“He complains that Mom always wants money,” said John.
“Does your mother complain too?” asked Lee.
“She says he never gives her enough money.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.