Someone showed me this blog post about parenting in the age of kids having everything digital, and at a moment’s notice, which probably should also encompass ‘that’ concern about children not being inquisitive any more because they can look up everything on Google or Wikipedia. I don’t personally see that as being a problem, and we enjoy looking up things together when we don’t know the answer, want a bit of context or video explanation or evidence of something.
But I’m also interested in kids growing up in the age of simple digital documentation. I can’t think now where I would go to find or dig out any video of me as a child. My parents didn’t have a cine camera to my knowledge and the first video camera in our family was probably my own, much later. Photos are easier to come by, but were generally taken on ‘occasions’ such as birthdays, holidays, Christmas, etc.
But my kids will have it a little different. I’m a serial Flickr, Audioboo and Youtube user, often posting not just the important occasions, but what I like to think of as sweet tableaus of everyday life – you might just call them a bit dull but when it’s this free, easy, and tied into everyday technology like mobile phones, I just can’t resist. I might be criticised for being too open, giving too much away to the world on social media, even when I am making the more personal images private. The result of all this is that if they want, they’ll have thousands (in the case of Flickr at least) of images to go through at will, in their own time. No more pulling down dusty shoeboxes of old, printed photos. They’ll be pulling these up on tablets or computers that are part of everyday life. Even at this early stage of their lives they enjoy finding photos of themselves from just a couple of years ago. I wonder what they’ll make of it all when they’re in their thirties? We might have discussions about making some of that archive more private online, or decide to take less photos, or at least not post as many online. Or they might embrace it and continue in the same trend throughout their lives. Whatever, at this stage, it’s worth recognising the opportunity and making use of it as we will.