Take Our Privacy. Please.

Why Main Line kids like Blake Robbins (and the rest of their generation) should stop whining

I understand the outrage of Lower Merion parents whose kids’ school-district-issued laptops were equipped with secret cameras that apparently snapped photos in those kids’ homes. I sympathize with those parents’ sense that their privacy has been violated, and the sanctity of their homes invaded. I feel for them. I really do. But I had damned well better not hear the kids themselves whining about lost privacy. [SIGNUP]

My children’s generation has no claim to privacy any longer. They forfeited any such right by flocking to embrace let-it-all-hang-out crapola like Real World and Jersey Shore and Jon & Kate Plus 8. They grew up on a rich, steady diet of MySpace and Facebook and text-messaging. They made “overshare” a noun that everybody knew. They stick webcams in their bedrooms and perform for them like regular American Idols, beaming the results out to anyone and everyone; they wage online bullying campaigns against the weak and needy; they dreamed up “sexting” and “sousveillance” and Skype. They text while at the dinner table. They tweet their every movement. They live-blog weddings, births and suicides. Privacy? Come on. They’re never alone.

Speaking of which, did it bother anybody else that Blake Robbins’s parents complained about the violation of his privacy by making public a photo of him, sleeping, taken by the camera they claim invaded his privacy? This thing is as convoluted as an Escher print.

And now the invaded families are taking the district to court for a big ol’ lawsuit that will spill everybody’s secrets out in the open. When I was a kid, there was a saying: Don’t air your dirty laundry in public. It seems wildly ironic to me that parents are pressing a lawsuit claiming invasion of their children’s right to privacy even as kids are sending one another photos of their genitals on their cell phones, just for kicks.

SANDY HINGSTON is a Philly Mag senior editor.