In this galaxy a long time ago (my preteen years,) I used to ask my mom to take me to the downtown library. I was a 13 year old girl on a mission, and the library had one book with all the answers. The book contained every name and address to publishing companies along with minimal contact info. The library never allowed this book to be checked out, you could sign it out but never take it home. I’d sign out the precious cargo, and then sit alone at a table with sheer determination. Here, I picked out names of publishing houses that I knew nothing about. I picked publishing companies similar to how I’d later bet on horses, I liked their name.
Today, I understand why I wasn’t allowed to check out this book. Every one wouldn’t be as honest as a 13 year old girl. Any wannabe author with a right mind would steal the book. Thirteen year old me was more honest than 30-something me, I’d steal that book today.
Before the internet, this was how I used to submit writing. In my preteen penmanship, I’d write down as many contacts as I could cram into the allotted time. Many hours were wasted on an old word processor where I patiently printed off important works. Hard copy printing on a word processor was similar to a dot matrix printer waiting game, I never made any plans for an afternoon. Hours later I’d finally be holding the finished piece. Then, I would hand address an envelope where the snail mail ensured I’d forget the tediously slow publishing process; until a rejection came in the mail 8 months later.
Twenty years later, I am still submitting and still getting rejected. I’m still writing, but one thing has changed. The trip to the library is no longer a necessity. The holy grail publishing book is obsolete in today’s constantly connected world.
I can write, submit a piece, and either be rejected or accepted within a few days. It is glorious to be read (even if people are sometimes reading the dribble I shouldn’t write.) People want to define the newest generations by belittling their way of life.
“These kids seem so entitled. They want everything handed to them.”
It’s already been placed on a silver platter inside a black box with a wireless connection. It awaits them in tiny tablets and so called ‘smartphones.’
Streamlined technology requires very little work. A musician is heard immediately on YouTube. An artist creates their own museum where every piece is for sale at Etsy. A writer has access to self publishing and selling on Amazon. Welcome to the new Renaissance. In this new day you will find evolution peaking within humanity as we have chosen, and choose daily, to unleash the pandemonium inside Pandora’s Box.
Today’s parents are the first generation to raise children with unlimited knowledge at the touch of their fingertips. We’re privy to bear witness to a generation in information overload; library cards aren’t even needed. The only requirement is that you pay your cable/internet provider to keep the box glowing and flowing. What the hell is a Dewey Decimal system? *Cue old fart rag time music.
Children don’t feel entitled, they have every answer to any possible question. They may not be the right answers, but they can find validation to uphold any belief. Oh, and it must be right because Wikipedia said so.
“Mommy, what’s the Pythagorean Theorem?”
Meanwhile, Mommy is busy fixing dinner after working two jobs (one to pay a daycare provider, the other to pay the internet people) and she was NEVER good at math. That is math, right? Pytha-gora-what? Finally, she answers “Let’s ask Google.” Bright light provides quick redemption with only a few keystrokes in a search bar. Done. Crisis averted, back to dinner.
Not only are answers to homework found on the Internet, but Dad doesn’t have to hide his nudie mags. Please Dads (some Moms too,) delete your browsing history. Don’t let your kid find the porn you’ve watched on the family computer. Most kids are going to find their own porn on the internet anyways. They don’t need your help. And they also don’t need your devices exposing them to 50 Shades of This-is-What-My-Dad-Watches. Gross. Seriously, open browser history and DELETE.
To the shopping Mamas, every website is offering free shipping and 15% off if you open an account with them. You can have every designer dud slapped on a new charge account and put into a shipping queue within a few sweaty seconds.
The world is not our oyster. We swallowed every oyster when we first heard that strange dial up noise. Humanity is choking on the pearls. The tidal wave crashed a simple life. It added a constant invisible cord plugged into civilization. And this cord is always connected to devices. It’s fast speed doesn’t take only a second away from our children and our lives, we’re spending hours, days, and precious years feeding the connection.
An internet connection nurtured is what my child will recognize as the latest download of a young male’s childhood. A two year old can operate an iPad, a computer, and an iPhone. We’re connected to Pandora’s Box. I don’t place any entitlement on the ease he was born into.
Still, the Internet is a predator. It’s the once sought after book containing all the names and I have to be savvy enough to figure out parental controls. Parents are the new Guardians of the Galaxy.
I’m scared. I’m terrified. I’m overwhelmed daily.
Every day I watch our world and ask, “how do we raise children with this?”
Do the best you can. Google it.