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October 12, 2009
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Our parenting skills
have devolved,
deflated, been
packed up
and shot into space.

The latest urban vogue
is the electronic ball and chain
for 12 year-olds.
Monitored by satellites
built from our
dispatched fear,
we teach them
no values but hate.

The rebel child
doesn't spring
from the genetic pool
fully formed.
No chain will ever
mend a broken
childhood.

You can orbit
all you want,
but the absence of
love
will never show
as a point of interest
on Google Earth.
A new proposal from the right wing of the Danish government suggests using a type of satellite-monitored electronic ball and chain to keep track up unruly children down to the age of 12. Curfews would be put into place, and the police would have authority to transport the kids home if they were out at night.

This will most likely never become law, but I am appalled that we're even thinking along those lines here. Put the damn parents in chains if you really have to do something that stupid! Kids aren't dogs, and they can't be trained as such.

Ugh, there are so many heartless people in this country!
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:iconbcatt:
bcatt Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2009
It truly does take a community to raise a child...and not the pseudo-communities found at government run centres.
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:iconneonxaos:
neonxaos Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Nope, and once the youths are going down the wrong paths, we don't have the proper prcedures in place to guide them back either. We just have a few hardworking people with limited resources, and then the government sometimes focuses on one specific problem area at a time, because it will look good in the media. We need a concerted effort.
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:iconbcatt:
bcatt Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2009
The government was my legal guardian for about a decade, and in a lot of ways it wasn't much better than the home I was "rescued" from. The well-meaning participants are few and far between, and are drowned out in the bureaucra-silly of it all. In some places, it was almost like being on house arrest without the electronic monitoring anklet. There was little guidance, and a lot of testing whether we were fitting in the cookie-cutter standards. This (and worse - I don't harbour any illusions that my plights were very horrid in comparison to what some people experience) is what happens when "familY" and "community" are institutionalized.
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:iconneonxaos:
neonxaos Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Ah, I didn't know you were removed from your home - that's a rough deal. So you have really seen what goes on and how... mechanical the system can be.
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:iconyouinventedme:
YouInventedMe Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2009   Writer
the second & fourth stanzas are my favorite(s)
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:iconneonxaos:
neonxaos Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
They are so contemporary! XD
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:iconpadme-naberrie:
padme-naberrie Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2009
Wow...that's really messed up (not the poem, don't worry xD)
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:iconneonxaos:
neonxaos Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
It is indeed!
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:iconavfc4me:
avfc4me Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2009
Then again...

they just found a girl a stones' throw from my current home...

who'd been kidnapped 18 years ago. She's spent the last 18 years living in some degenerate lunatic's back yard...in a tent...raped regularly and now mother to two children of her own, who similarly have grown up living in a tent in a back yard, confined from life, without education, socialization, medical care, dental care, or sane people.

Maybe it sounds like a horror to strap a GPS on your kid; then again, maybe it brings a bit of peace of mind that you can let your child run around and have some sense of freedom without letting them out the front door and then following them around hiding behind bushes to make sure they're still safe from this world of scary [real] monsters and madmen...

Just a thought. I mean, at a certain age, you want your children the opportunity to gain some independence and explore their world through their eyes, cultivate friendships and just be kids. But I confess; I don't let my 8 year old play out front unless I'm out there where I can keep an eye on him.

Sounds extreme? Yes, I'd think so too, ten years ago. But then, a school superintendent wasn't leaving warning messages on my phone machine about once or twice a month regarding incidents around the schools: creepy old men trying to get little girls to get in their cars; perverts flashing body parts at little boys; near-misses of an overly-distracted mom-mobile nearly plowing into a couple of 8-year-old bikers.

I'm not saying it's right; I'm just sayin': this ain't our parents' world...and you just don't know how terrifying it is, how precarious the balance is, between letting them live, and keeping them safe...

Maybe...it is't about NOT-loving them. Maybe, it's about loving them too much.

(Not to say you're wrong. Just thought I'd offer another perspective)
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:iconneonxaos:
neonxaos Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
No, I do understand your view on things. I just think it's going about things the wrong way. We should not HAVE to protect our children from our society, we should form society so that children can live in it, and we should raise our children to be decent human beings. Having said that, there is definitely a difference between an 8 year-old and a 12 year-old. Small children have to be watched, but I don't think parents should need Big Brother-like equipment to do so. I think that's a scary prospect, but maybe I'm a little old-fashioned after all. And I'm also a naive, utopian idealist.

It must be said that this proposal (and my poem) is actually technically about something quite the opposite, namely keeping delinquent youths from wreaking havoc. In this country, we actually have problems with very young children forming gangs and smashing stuff up. And then they grow up and become really nasty. I have a very close friend who works on the street and sees this happen on a daily basis, but I very much doubt she would agree with the government's methods. What happened to dialogue and proactive measures? What happened to helping the helpless? Slapping a ball and chain on people with only contain the problem for a while, but I am absolutely convinced that it will make everything much worse in the long run.

I thank you for your interesting comment, though. You have much more insight into raising a child than I have, and I certainly can see where you're coming from on this. Your opinion stands as a great, contrasting footnote, and it's always good to hear several angles in a discussion like this.
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:iconavfc4me:
avfc4me Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2009
Oh, from your mouth to the planet's ears. Jaycee Duggard was 11 when she was snatched from her front yard. Eizabeth Smart was abducted from her own bedroom at the age of 14. Polly Klass was similarly abducted from her own bedroom at the age of 12. Polly Klass never made it home; her abductor panicked and killed her.

How many children are reported missing each year?

The U.S. Department of Justice reports

797,500 children (younger than 18) were reported missing in a one-year period of time studied resulting in an average of 2,185 children being reported missing each day.
203,900 children were the victims of family abductions.
58,200 children were the victims of non-family abductions.
115 children were the victims of “stereotypical” kidnapping. (These crimes involve someone the child does not know or someone of slight acquaintance, who holds the child overnight, transports the child 50 miles or more, kills the child, demands ransom, or intends to keep the child permanently.)
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:iconneonxaos:
neonxaos Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
I stand corrected, but I still don't think that I should have to. The world is just a crazy place, no mistake about it, but we really need to change our mentality, or this issue will just keep escalating.

I may also be out of my depth here, bur I think the problem may be worse in the US than here in Denmark. We're not used to this kind of thing at all. I myself went alone to school from age 10 (possibly even earlier, can't quite recall) by public transportation.
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:iconavfc4me:
avfc4me Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2009
I thought perhaps the same thing after I hit the 'send' button; that we are approaching this from two different perspectives of culture.

And I agree with you, we shouldn't HAVE to, and it really, really SUCKS that we do.

(And, I still think it's a good poem...the chain is literal, but it's also metaphorical, in the sense that, our modern society provides this infinite technology for 'keeping in touch'...and as a result we find ourselves in the know about the minute details of our neighbor's daily lives, while our kids are plugged into the latest virtual-reality video game and our dinners are steeping in the latest cook-it-fast machinery...and yet. We still have no time, and we're still missing that vital element of communication that actually makes the CONNECTION rather than the CONVERSATION, no?)
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:iconneonxaos:
neonxaos Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Yes, yes, and yes!

I was sensing the whole American paranoia in your words. I love America to death actually, but I often get the sense that most people in the States have a nagging suspicion that everyone else is out to get them, and therefore they must keep their guard up at all times. I'm not saying this to offend you in any way, mind, it's just a feeling I get.

I'm all for technology, but I'm not for Skynet technology, designed specifically to keep us in check. I just think that we've got this amazing gift, this ability to connect and communicate across all borders and generations now. We should use that constructively. I hope that families will integrate this new technology to a far greater extent in the future, so we can keep in touch with our children rather than keep tabs on them. Does that make sense?
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:iconavfc4me:
avfc4me Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2009
That's probably a bit overstated in some cases, and not stated loudly enough in others :)

I'm not sure we're all paranoid that the world's out to get us...but then, if there weren't at least SOME truth to that, we wouldn't be a nation of gun-toting fools.

And while there are LOTS of things to NOT worry about (like terrorists and alien abductions and whether or not our President is planning on killing off old people), there are some serious concerns. And I think what was true 20 years ago is MORE true today. Part of it, I'm sure, could be attributed to the economic climate, but I think, also, the world has changed, and very FAST, over the last 20 years. Things move so rapidly -- also attributed to our amazing advances in technology--that the wonder is tempered with a feeling that the ground isn't as stable as it used to be. And I don't think that's solely an American thing; I think there's a global unease... which explains to me why the Nobel Committee unanimously decided on Obama for the Peace Prize. We as Americans needed that hopeful boost, because our President is going AGAINST that grain of fear and trying instead to reach out and actually communicate with the rest of the world; it's a major gamble, I think, because when people DON'T feel secure in their futures or their current standing, it's really tempting to want to find a scapegoat...a...focus, I guess, for that fear; to find a single 'enemy', one thing that is causing the root of the discord (no matter how silly or without truth that thought is) and focus on eliminating it. The 'if only' syndrome; you can trace it around the world wherever there's discord.

Anyway. I got up on my soapbox again. Here; this was supposed to be YOUR speech and I went and interrupted.

I must say, it's interesting to see the world, not just through someone else's eyes, but through eyes shaded by different experiences of 'home'.

And, I love Denmark to death; I went to Mexico once with a bunch of Danes and they were the ones that showed me that 'football' is called 'football' onna' count'a ... you play it with your FEET...and 'football' in the rest of the world isn't a bunch of giants bashing into each other, but this graceful 2-sided, partner/switching/frantic dance...

(Besides: Peter the Great loved Denmark, too...)
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:iconneonxaos:
neonxaos Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Oh, you're not interrupting. We're discussing here, and I'm not done! :) You speak very eloquently and well-informed, but there is a cultural gap between us which can be hard to fathom, because on the outside, Europeans and Americans look so similar. I have had this discussion countless times, and I have never "won" or "lost" it, but I learn a little more every time.

I think the crux of the matter is that it all truly depends on your viewpoint. From where I stand, this is what things look like. America, for all its melting pot amalgam of people and cultures, has a surprisingly clear tendency to see things as RIGHT or WRONG and people as FRIENDS or ENEMIES. This was especially apparent under the Bush administration(s). As a European, I find it so hard to understand how such a large country only gets to select between REPUBLICANS! or DEMOCRATS! at election day, and that sort of sums things up for me. I think the attitude worked back in the time of the Cold War when things really were quite well-defined and the enemy was a clear and present danger, but the borders of the world are far more diffuse today, and the difference between right and wrong is becoming hazy in many cases. Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, Afghanistan... where's the clear-cut enemy there? And America is not the absolute superpower it was in the wake of WWII. The limits of its power are becoming painfully apparent, and the whole world is entering into a new phase, where everything will be distributed differently. Europe is definitely feeling this too - our economies are more or less collapsing, while China is on the rise.

But you're right in saying that the ground beneath us is shifting. We have to adapt, and we're doing it. I just honestly believe that it's harder for Americans to accept that. You guys are used to your skyscrapers and huge cars and billionaire celebs, and the American culture has long been a culture of excess. You may not see it, but when I come to the States as a European, it never ceases to amaze me how spacious everything is, how ridiculous the size of restaurant servings are, how few miles your cars run per gallon. America has been walking with a swagger for many years, and I have loved to see that when I have been there. But that time is over, and as you say, now you're searching for a single enemy to blame it on, and a single man to save you (I don't mean you personally, of course, and I'm sorry for generalizing so much, but I'm just trying to make a point). I think it's time America tried to stop thinking in such absolutes, that's all.

In Denmark, I think we have the opposite problem. Our collective self esteem has always sucked, and we as a country don't really feel capable of anything, so everyone just leans back and lets the crisis wash over us until we more or less suffocate in it. Our political system is so multifaceted that the parties can't ever truly agree on anything, and we end up with so many completely ridiculous proposals like the one I wrote the poem about. We spend a ridiculous amount of time arguing about things that don't really matter, so we can avoid facing the bigger issues. And we truly don't have the enterprising spirit, the feeling that everyone has the power within him to make it big time. We're an apologetic people, and we don't really dare step on anyone's toes. But our laid-back attitude also has positive aspects, because we're less fearful, and in many ways we're confident that the crisis will blow over and we'll still be all right if we keep our heads down. I guess we also have our welfare system to thank for that, because you can lose your job here and still have a roof over your head, no matter what. The government will pay you enough to live like an acceptable life if you're out of work, and that service is free for everyone.

But in general, I think the entire world need to stop looking for scapegoats and start getting creative. And that was true even before the crisis. The US should accept that it is actually a part of the rest of the world, and Denmark should grow some cojones.

We're far away from the children now, I realize that, but I think the overlying issues are actually the root cause of the problem. When society fails, children fall though. And when left to their own devices in a hostile world, some become violent, it's only a natural reaction. So again, the world needs to change, and putting children in chains ain't gonna help. Just my five cents.
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(1 Reply)
:iconindae:
Indae Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
I love the flow of the poem, and i find it has alot of meaning.
Also i think that it is a bloody stupid idea even to be suggested, let alone considered.
Only love can guide children to be who they are, it takes someone who know them to do this, monitering them on a screen cannot equivilate to the affection they need.
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:iconneonxaos:
neonxaos Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks, it's been a while since something made me angry enough to write a poem about it. But this really takes the cake. It's like some people are completely losing touch with their emotions these days, and that scares me.
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:iconindae:
Indae Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
I know.
Not only are people loosing touch with their emotions, they are creating things [i.e. robots] to do everything for us. I do not want to live in a future, where it is considered exercise to walk across the room and pick something up. I do not want to live in a time where it becomes more handy, to have a child cared for by someone who is not there mother. We are loosing our connections with each other in this harsh reality, and connections are envitibly what make us human.
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:iconneonxaos:
neonxaos Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
I agree with almost all of this. I just think we should use technology in a more positive way, to free up time for human interactions.
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:iconindae:
Indae Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
That is also a good idea, But what also makes us human is out ability to do and create and think in ways that animals cannot. So by using technologie to do this for us we are cutting out ourselves.
But then again we are using our abilites to create these things, so it is a never ending argument...
I am such a hypocryte, and i make no sense :)
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:iconneonxaos:
neonxaos Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
I understand what you're saying, but I just want the machines to make us better than we are by supporting us and carrying out the menial tasks. It's a very controversial standpoint, but I firmly believe in it. I don't want technology to go all Skynet on us or reduce us to lethargic veggies any more than the next guy, but I think it's here to stay and here to help us move forward.
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:iconindae:
Indae Featured By Owner Oct 12, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah... yeah i suppose you are right now i think about it ...
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