A couple of weeks ago Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, who is running for governor, made the “Today” show and most major news outlets for a picture placing him at a wild high school beach week party in Delaware in June.
It showed him with his arm up, phone extended, looking like he was about to take a photo of a bikini-clad girl doing a dance Miley Cyrus made popular recently.
He said he visited the party to speak with his son. And the attorney general, an outspoken critic of underage drinking, denied he knew any alcohol was being consumed. Besides, he told The Baltimore Sun, “Assume for purpose of discussion that there was widespread drinking at this party. How is that relevant to me? The question is, do I have moral authority over other people’s children at beach week in another state? I say no.”
Many people criticized him for being a hypocrite and he responded by later calling it a “mistake” to not investigate whether alcohol was being consumed at the party, but the apology seemed more in response to the media uproar than moral conviction. Personally, I found interesting his take that parental guidance hinges on geographical borders.
But despite the late night jokes and the television mentions that make his behavior seem outrageous, being your child’s friend instead of his parent is more the rule than the exception in today’s culture, with dangerous consequences.
Parents routinely give smart phones to their children without monitoring their e-mail or text messages, more afraid, apparently, of violating their privacy than stopping dangerous behavior like sexting or preventing them from posting material on social media that would put their resumes in the trash file for most employers.
According to a recent survey, one in 10 16- to 34-year-olds have been rejected for a job because of the content of their social media profiles. So if you don’t care what your kids are doing for moral reasons, you should for economic ones.