With the dawn of the digital era, human beings and people who like baked beans have merged with their personal electronic devices. We can now order a pizza, a sex buddy and a wardrobe within a matter of seconds- without moving from our self-imposed blanket and Netflix prisons. We have two selves, one of which is not congruent with reality. Trickled down titbits of our best moments and poses piece together a disturbing idealised puzzle, of which we will inevitably fall short.
Where does this leave our children? It’s all too easy to toss an iPad or a phone at them in the morning, so they can glue themselves to an inane game. When I hear padding in the hallway, I’ve already pre-loaded Peppa Pig to take over as the second parent.
Technology, merely being the convenient silencer of children, has changed the way we capture moments. This in turn will change the way our children see themselves. There are probably under thirty photos of my childhood in existence. A few of them are professional, and most of them are what one would call “meaningful”. A generational snap, with four women and a gormless baby in a white dress (me), that details a family history in a moment. It’s a treasure. A picture of me and my brother playing in the garden on a sunny day, wearing horrendous 90’s outfits, is also photographic gold.
I look through my own phone. There’s thousands of “candid” photos of my children, each one slightly different from the next. They tell a story of a quest for perfection, an attempt to solicit a perfect, organic moment. My children now know how to pose perfectly. My eldest son already has a penchant for snapchat filters. When I really sit and think about it, I’m creating an unwarranted self obsession in two toddlers who should be eating dirt.
It seems this happened overnight. No matter how matter how many toys I buy the children will always gravitate toward the tablets. The human anatomy has a new technological extension, one that has Peppa Pig at the touch of a button.
It’s a concern for the future, the construction of the family unit. A living room full of people, sitting in their own separate, digital worlds. Physically touching but mentally apart. It’s the teenager locked away in the bathroom, turning this way and that in the pursuit of the perfect selfie. It’s the kids faces aglow in their bedroom with screen lights. Where does this glittering map lead? Have we lost our children to technology?