The three of us were out to dinner this evening when a group of high schoolers, in semi-formal attire, sat down at the table beside us. The girls had wrist corsages so I assumed they were going to a high school dance of some sort. Once they decided who was sitting in which seats, they sat down and within a minute silence fell over the table. I was shocked. Would my toddler be noisier than a group of high schoolers? I was shocked by the silence so I turned my attention from Isabelle’s crayon artwork to the high schoolers. You know why they were so quiet? They were all checking Instagram!
A minute or two later, the “conversation” started.
“Can you believe she’s wearing that?” (She shows phone to the whole table.)
“Did they really go to the Capitol to have their picture taken?!!?” (Shows phone to people sitting near him.)
“I can’t believe you posted that!” (One guy says to his buddy down the table.)
Instagram user names were called across the table so the others could type them into their phones and check out what their classmates were posting.
For the next half hour, ’til their meal came, very little conversation was happening between the kids at the next table (who seemed nice despite their tech obsession). They were on their phones almost the entire time. They seemed to be more interested in what everyone else was doing as opposed to the people they were with.
My heart sunk. So I turned to Marc, “I can’t imagine growing up with Instagram. They’re looking at photos taken a few minutes ago across town. Remember when we were kids and would go to a dance? We took pictures with film and were excited if we could get the pictures back two days later!”
Marc laughed. “It’s a different generation,” he said. Then he paused, realizing we weren’t that much older than these kids. “Well, maybe not a different generation, but things are different. Just think, in 13 years, that’s going to be Isabelle.”
“Oh please!” I said. “I can hardly picture her going to Kindergarten. Forget about dances and Instagramming everything!”
I know things are vastly different than they were growing up in the 80’s and 90’s. Childhood and teen years weren’t exactly a cake-walk back then. But, man, I cannot imagine having everything scrutinized by everyone else the moment something happens.
I also know I’m not saying anything new. I’m not writing anything that hasn’t been written before. I’m just yet another mom who worries about the way technology is going to impact her daughter’s future. Will she do things to make herself happy or will she do things in an effort to impress others? I hope it will be the former, not the latter. I feel like part of my job is going to have to be to make sure to balance the inner and outer self so she grows-up well-adjusted, happy, and self-confident. That’s not exactly a small undertaking, is it?