A cloud is building on the horizon. One of those dark, steel-coloured clouds, it flashes every now and then with lightening. There is an ominous, glowing red base where the cloud meets the earth, as if Sauron and his army may be ready to strike. I am nervous about my children and their relationship with technology. Tech is the one ring to rule them all.
Back when I was a child, life was simple in the Shire and new tech was exciting but not pervasive. Think of the kids in Stranger Things but without the Upside Down – that’s how it feels in my memories. Our favourite possessions were bicycles and Walkmans. The pace of introducing new technology was slow here in Africa. Just as there was no TV in my mother’s childhood, there was no internet in mine.
Flash forward thirty years and i have to manage my daughters, and their relationship to the internet. That strange magic which is able to make them disappear. We are relatively conservative with our children in this house. I feel like I have seen too much to let my girls loose on an iPad or on YouTube. But I know the dam will burst and there is such a thing as sheltering them too much.
The answer to all of this, I believe, is well described by Tolkien and exemplified by my excellent wife. Stay productive, and know that your tasks make a difference in at least one life: Your own. Just as carrying the Ring throughout Middle Earth is no easy task, managing the internet in your own life is hard. In fact, Frodo almost succumbs to its powers more than once. Friends and family see us through and give perspective to our online life. Sam, is always there to get Frodo back on the right path.
Happy Friday, chimps.