Reluctant Lessons from Weiner and Jackass

More than enough has been said about the Anthony Weiner scandal and how yet another adult who should have known better has disgraced himself and lost a career by sending inappropriate photos, among other things. Now Jackass star Ryan Dunn has met a tragic death in a fiery car crash, where police say  he was driving over 130 mph at double the legal limit for alcohol. Hours before his accident, he posted a photo of himself drinking along with other friends, one of whom perished with him.

It happens that these guys are celebrities whose judgment is subject to public disapproval, but that is only a matter of scale. Our kids and their friends will have many opportunities to make poor decisions, which will likely be amplified (ex., retweet, forward all, etc.) and which may be just as unrecoverable.

This is a teachable moment for those of us with kids growing up in today’s social network. We can lecture about the folly of sharing photos, sexting, and the ease of forwarding, and we can talk about the dangers of alcohol impairment. But all our preaching may not be as compelling as these real-life situations.

You certainly can’t imagine more colorful, memorable names for your kids to associate with these developments. Consider them case studies in dire consequences and let’s all take these sad lessons to heart.