How much greater of a degree of difficulty does all this then slap on surviving the teenage crucible for today's students versus previous generations?
Well, consider how some of the more famous moments of some classic '80s high school films might have played out if updated to include today's technologies.
How different would things have been for Molly Ringwald's Samantha Baker in "Sixteen Candles" if all those nerds in the bathroom were holding up smartphones when Anthony Michael Hall triumphantly displayed her underwear? (#SamsUnderwear ?)
What if someone spotted Ferris at Wrigley Field and tweeted a pic to Ed Rooney?
What if Judge Reinhold had an iPhone and Facebook account when Phoebe Cates emerged from that pool?
And the consequences of these decisions? Wait ... consequences?? What are you talking about, "consequences"? This stuff is funny! LOL guys!! Share, post, retweet, send!
The "what ifs" have now all become a reality. This is growing up now. Welcome to Generation Overshare.
Tiffany is a member of Generation Overshare, though really more by age than by practice. She has a Twitter account, she's on Facebook. But social media was never really more than background noise for the busy high school junior whose time was filled with a challenging course load including AP World History, her school's track and basketball teams, and frequent church events with the congregation founded by her grandparents.
"People get on their phones daily, every other minute in class just to check their Twitter and Instagram," says Tiffany.
But for a student who describes herself as occasionally "isolated," classmates' digital diets didn't hold much fascination and were never much of a concern -- until it was her life somehow being served up on a virtual platter.
Tiffany's description of her Tulsa, Oklahoma, school as a place where the latest gossip or Snapchats pulse through classrooms with the speed of a finger tap probably sounds unremarkable to teens and parents around the country.
Nor is it remarkable that Tiffany would be caught in their social media crossfire. But as detached as her online life was from other students', her mere presence -- any student's mere presence -- inside the school's walls made her a potential victim.
By the time she got home from the basketball game on that clear, chilly Sooner State evening, that's exactly what had happened.
"You need to look on the Internet. You're a Trending Topic." The phone call that night from a friend was the gut punch that informed Tiffany that the trainer didn't keep her word.
The humiliating photo had landed on Twitter and was quickly swept into the social media site's current of retweets, inviting the public Internet into that private high school locker room. In a moment, its walls of privacy destroyed by a carelessly uploaded jpeg file. The original, shameful event was bad enough with only maybe a dozen witnesses. But now?
"I was crushed. I was terrified. I was really scared," Tiffany says. "I immediately started crying."
She called her parents and hurriedly began explaining what had happened. "She was frantic," her mom says. Once they understood the complete story, Dwayne and DeAnn Cooks offered Tiffany words of support and reminders of their faith. DeAnn also phoned the basketball coach.
But Dwayne says that they, like their daughter, were scared, "because I guess, you know, we kind of knew what she was going to have to go through in the hallways."
The hallways. Of course. Because as any member of Generation Overshare can tell you, cyberbullying is only part of the problem. It's when it manifests itself back in the real world that the shattering consequences of online actions become absolutely inescapable.
Tiffany says she tried to just "keep my head down" the next few weeks, but laying low wasn't working. At all. Students ran up to her with the photo on their phones and start laughing in her face while she tried getting to class. Others kept hounding her to go shop at some new stores, and she heard "granny panties" yelled at her more than a few times. The only time she was left alone was at lunch.
"She would sit down in the lunchroom to eat by herself because no one would sit with her," her mom recalls. "They threw food on her clothes. She had food stains and everything like that -- barbecue, chicken wings and all these things they threw on her."
Tiffany and her parents reached out to school administrators, explaining what was happening and hoping they could intervene. But even worse than what her dad described as the school's refusal to accept accountability was the fact that bringing the matter to their attention in the first place now made Tiffany a target all over again. See, now she was a snitch, in the eyes of the bizarro high school justice system which turns victims into troublemakers.
"We told, so they started calling her a 'snitch' and then everyone wanted to fight her," said DeAnn, who works at a college preparatory school just minutes from Booker T. and began stopping by the school on her lunch break to check up on Tiffany. "You know, she's crying, several different times. It was really, really bad. I went over there several times a day, every single day."
"That B better not have messed up my scholarship!" raged one tweet her dad recalls from teammates angered by his daughter's "snitching."