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Generation Like

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TEENS TECHNOLOGY
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I know this sounds like a good thing. It's not. Teenagers cannot finish a sentence without using the word "like." Not just teenagers. This plague is spreading and it's HIGHLY contagious. Save yourself and your family before it's too late... Seriously, it's like so out of control that we are like raising a society of educated dummies and we're like sending them out into the world. I'm like shame on us.

I wish I were exaggerating to make my point, but sadly, I am not. I have no beef with the word "like" if used correctly, but those likes are far and few between.

My ears bleed and I suffer in silence when I'm schlepping a carful of tweens to the beach or to the movies. When these girls are not singing along to Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea, my senses are being bombarded with a symphony of "likes." "She was like, and I was like, and he was like..." Ahhhhh! While I have no statistic beyond living with two very social teenagers, "like" has got to be used more often than any word in Generation Like's vocabulary. Yesterday, I was sitting next to a table of high school juniors who couldn't clear a sentence without injecting a few "likes." Ironically, one of the girls at the table really wanted to go to Northwestern because "they like have a really good journalism school and like I really want to go into like broadcasting." God help us. Walter Cronkite would be like rolling in his grave.

These poor iPhone toting, Brandy Melville wearing kids live in a culture of "likes." If they are not saying it, they are doing it. Thanks to Instagram, Vine, Facebook and the newest social media I'm not cool enough to even know about, kids are "liking" and compulsively comparing how many "likes" they are getting. I don't get the appeal, but then again I'm a 47-year-old mom -- not quite the target audience. Maybe as far as social media is concerned we should start disliking things. When my daughter sees a picture of four of her friends captured perfectly mid-pool jump on Instagram, she taps the "like" button. Where are the "why wasn't I invited" or the "you're not as precious as you think you are" buttons? I'd tap those. I'm not as secure as my middle schooler. With so much emphasis on "likes" it's no wonder this four-letter word has permeated their vocabulary.

I live in Santa Monica, an urban beach community in Los Angeles. LA is home of the OVG (original valley girls) and a mecca of surfer and skater culture, brah, but this "like" epidemic is not contained to the whacky west coast. Butchering a sentence with "likes" has spread nationwide. Boys do it, girls do it, even out of the demographic moms do it. Generation Like has gone viral. I know this to be fact because I posed this very question on Facebook and I received 78 likes!

Generation Like is representing and spans across all socio economic borders. Educated, not educated, private school, public school... kids of any race or ethnicity, they are all messengers of the "like" movement. I'm not suggesting we remove the word like from the English language (although that would be an improvement!) but we need to do something, and soon. Together we can help our kids break this annoying habit.

I hope you're as disturbed as I am when your child can't string a sentence together without using "like" five times. Get angry the next time your swanky private school babysitter shows up spitting out a "like" firestorm. Let's not take it anymore. It's not too late to take our teenagers back. Give them a fresh start to sound like the intelligent people we have raised. Sure, it might be too late to teach them French or to sculpt them into professional athletes, but it's not too late to extract the unnecessary "likes" from their vocabulary. Come on people! We can win this war on "likes" and send our kids out into the world sounding like.. smart.