Unless technology advances far out of the reach of the 22-30 year old generation in a few decades, we’re looking at an era when parents catch up to their kids’ computer habits! The idea first came to me when I was thinking about how life would be for my son growing up. All sorts of possibilities started running through my head, and it suddenly dawned upon me that I’m not the only geek dad in the world. There are a lot of negative implications to this, and I’ll show you why.
First of all, I reminisce to the time I was a young 17 year old on the web. In those years, I was a fanatic of computers and programming and all that crap that no one wants to learn because it’s got some f$*%in’ numbers splattered all over it. It wasn’t long before my first Neo-Modus Direct Connect client came out, and I was also writing other client-server applications, in C++, no less. Take that, school!!
Think about it. We were rebels. But, the difference between our kids and our past rebellious selves is that we actually had the freedom to be rebels. There was no ACTA or other s%!t like that to stop us from being… us…
#1: Parents Know Everything
Everyone and his grandmother knows how to go through their own browsing history. Some people even know how to recover it when it was deleted. If technology doesn’t advance far beyond what we are able to grasp, our kids are in for some pretty deep challenges. In fact, to circumvent our own methods of spying, kids will have to become more like counter-intelligence agents.
While we enjoyed the freedom to roam the Internet, we might not give our kids as much flexibility. On the positive end, that means our kids might not be as exposed to pornography, but it’s too bad they always find a way around it.
OK, so your kid is a smart-ass like you. But does that stop you from tapping into what your child does? Well, if you’re friends on Facebook, that’s going to really put pressure on what they can or cannot say. Not that it’s terribly evil or anything, but they do need a little breathing room to let out steam. Now, they must watch over their shoulders because, just like your Miranda rights tell you: Anything you say or do can and will be used against you… at the dinner table.
If that’s not bad enough, consider the fact that…
#2: The State Knows Everything
Read a bit about ACTA and TPPA. These are terrifying documents that show that governments are afraid enough of the Internet to attempt policing it. Our kids aren’t going to enjoy the Internet like we used to, even if we’re not the ones screwing up their virtual lives. In the days that a 3-minute-long fart can be copyrighted (*cough* Nicki Minaj *cough*), it’s just not the same Internet we were used to. Forget about the times when we could download copies of The Daily Show from the web. It’s now considered piracy…. Oh, really?
What sort of witchcraft is this?! They seem to be... interacting... freely...
#3: Daddy Doesn’t Want to Play Baseball
To put it simply, people today spend more time on the computer than any other activity they do in the entire day. OK, so the study I cite isn’t addressing computers exclusively, but all of the things mentioned in the study have a screen. Just deal with it and let’s call anything with a screen a computer.
Oh, for f#$k’s sake! Now I feel like a damn dinosaur, by the very notion I use the word “computer” in a sentence. Who the hell does that these days?
The study means to imply that, while little Bobby wants to play catch with dad, daddy will say, “Not now, Bobby. Daddy is updating his resume.” Yeah… Right.
Let’s put it another way: People – at least people in America – are spending less time outside now than they did 20 or 30 years ago. Don’t believe me? Read the bottom paragraph here. The reduced outdoors time is attributed to the advent of the Internet, social media, and tons of screens. In fact, I wrote a report about the American addiction to screens here.
#4: Children Don’t Want to Play Outside, Either
If you’re in your 20s or older, you probably remember the time that mommy or daddy taught you to ride a bike. I sure as hell remember my dad struggling with my tantrums because my training wheels suddenly disappeared. Hey, it was frustrating, but damn worth it.
Come to think of it, I’ve been assuming in the past few years that less kids today know how to ride a bicycle or swim due to their screen-tastic environments. I was right. In this report from the UK, one in six children don’t know how to ride a bike or swim. That’s troublesome, not only because it deprives today’s children of one of our favorite past times, but I’d think it’s crucial to learn how to swim when you’re living in an island like the UK. Nope, apparently this isn’t a needed skill anymore. You can float on a flat-panel TV if you’re stuck in flood waters.
No matter what they tell you, this is not "living," regardless of the fact you're doing it in the "living" room.
Before people start writing off child obesity as some sort of “syndrome” we all can’t avoid, let’s give our children what we had, and fight for a society that allows them to freely browse the web and spend a minute outside without feeling alone without moms or dads to encourage them.
Let’s give our kids the opportunity to see what it feels like to brag about that scab they got last week trying to do pull a wheely on a bike. Why not? A little scab won’t permanently traumatize a child, but a life of potato chips and TV screens totally screws them out of that beautiful, vivid, green life we lived.
Miguel has been working with computers back when the latest processor could print "Hello World" on the screen a couple of times and everyone was going nuts about that. From the days of DOS to the days of 'dows, he's been exploring every minute detail about computers, banging his head against the keyboard until he got it. Now he's blogging about it on his dedicated server until it breaks down, he repairs it, and just keeps on blogging.