A while back I read an interesting article about how we’re the last generation of parents who grew up without the Internet.
The premise was this: When it comes to our kids and the Internet, iPads, social media, smart phones, etc, etc, etc, we have no idea what we’re doing. Having grown up in the pre-digital age, we don’t get it. We don’t understand why our kids think they will die without the latest-greatest thing (whatever that is—we don’t know; we’re hopelessly lost). We don’t know where or how to set limits and restrictions. We don’t know what impact exposure (or overexposure) to technology will have on our kids, and we won’t know for years. We don’t know if we’re raising a generation of self-absorbed, narcissistic assholes. Or whether all this technology could be a good thing. Because we’re essentially cluelessly, collectively, fumbling thru it. Making stuff up as we go along.
I’d say that assessment is spot on. We are fumbling, second guessing, hoping, praying and making all sorts of things up as we go along…
Just like every generation of parents before us. Change “technology” and “Internet” to “MTV” or “TV” or any other noun representing a scientific advance or cultural shift. Parents have worried about whether they’re screwing up their kids since, well, always. Sure, things are different for modern-day parents, but we don’t have a monopoly on anything. Wondering whether you’re screwing up your kids is sort of the universal truth of parenting.
And some of us are. Some of us have to be because there always have been (and always will be) screwed-up assholes in the world.
When it comes to Jacob and Nicholas, I do a lot of this: “Uhhhhh…Ummmm…” Because, yeah, I don’t know. And they seriously ask for some new game or ap or something every. single. day. Technology is evolving so fast, I wonder all the time whether I’m denying them the opportunity to learn a skill that could prove a competitive advantage in the future.
So when Nicholas made this sweet “blog post” in Microsoft Word and asked me to make him a blog, I said yes.
So I made Nicholas a blog. He was unbelievably, jumping-up-and-down excited about it. Not to be outdone by his younger brother, Jacob needed one too.
I don’t know if this was a good move. Perhaps they will explore it with their therapists one day. But it’s hard to say “no” to something that gets them that excited about writing. As reluctant as I am to have them enter this brave new world where we are “friends” with people we don’t know and “likes” are a measure of self worth, I suppose it’s inevitable.
I just hope that, as they barrel forward, they understand that it’s not the people who “like” you that matter. It’s the people who love you that do. And those are many.