Brave New World: Can Childhood Still Be Magical in the Internet Age?
Editor's Note: We will be regularly following Cecile's journey as she becomes a first time mom to see what her experience is like after miscarriage. You'll find her posts on our blog once a month.
I thought I would have more anxiety about the actual birth. The pain, the unknown complications. Instead I find myself worried about the world I’m bringing my baby into, especially if our little fetus turns out to be a girl. I’m not talking just about politics, although I must be honest, I wanted my child to know a world where ANYONE, and I mean anyone can be president. A world where progress is celebrated, not feared and rejected. But, no, this isn’t about politics. I’m talking about love and life flourishing in the beautiful garden of our planet. Taking care for one another and for our homes as we know them. I don’t feel desolate, but I do feel anxiety and a need to better the space around me and plan as much as I can, with an urgency I haven’t felt before.
I worry about the air and water, and wax nostalgic of the childhood I had. I want her* to run in the woods and not be trapped behind a screen. Am I doing her a disservice by wanting to save her from the burden of technology? Can the internet wait for kids today? Will we cave instantly under the pressure of parenting and go for the bright, flashing, hypnotizing distraction? I pass no judgment on parents that give their children screens, because 1. I’m not a parent yet and although I have a very good idea of how hard it is, I don’t know from experience yet 2. Technology is so intertwined with our lives on every level and we has humans will only become more and more reliant on it 3. Computers are wonderful! I wouldn’t be able to have my business and career if it weren’t for computers.
But here comes that nostalgia again… My childhood wasn’t dominated by the internet (I was born in 1985) it was filled with tree houses, fairies, playing Little Woman with my friends… Real life friends. I spent every moment I could outside. That’s not to say we didn’t watch tv or play video games, and when the internet did arrive (when I was a teenager) you can believe I begged my parents for it. Maybe that show Stranger Things is to blame, or the fact that I had a John Hughes marathon a few weeks ago. Has anyone figured this out yet? How to raise your kid so that they’re technologically capable, yet able to use their imagination and disconnect?
When the actual parenting begins, we probably won’t have the time or energy to be philosophical about the state of the world and technology, so for now I’m working on transforming this feeling of anxiety to one of hope and purpose. I just hope that once we’re settled in, and the dust clears, we’ll give our child a balanced, innocent and magical childhood. Then a life of community in reality, not an online network. Not a life inside a flat screen but one that has three dimensions. I’m still worried about the air and water, but I have hope.
*Disclaimer, we still don’t know the gender! Ugh, two more weeks until we find out.
Cecile is a photographer and filmmaker living on Maryland's rural Eastern Shore. She specializes in artistic and highly emotional wedding coverage. Her husband and two dogs are expecting the arrival of their first human baby in April 2017.