Growing Up Online Will Ruin Our Children’s Futures

The children of the world are spending an ever-expanding amount of their time on internet-capable devices, and frankly, that should scare you. Allowing our kids to grow up immersed in 24/7 connectivity with complete strangers is not going to do them any favors in the future.

The problem is that we are human, and we make mistakes. Some larger than others, but mistakes nonetheless. You would think that everyone would know this and grant a certain amount of leniency to other human beings who err publically, but curiously, we behave in the exact opposite manner. Maybe it’s because we want to make ourselves feel better about our own failings, or perhaps because we become caught up in a mob mentality that calls for the tar-and-feathering of those who don’t meet our impossible standards of conduct.

Take “Cancel Culture” for example. It is an unwritten social agreement wherein the co-signers pledge to not support a person (or business) verbally, financially, or emotionally as the result of one faux pas or another. The idea is to choke out their social influence and ruin their livelihood. This is a relatively new concept that has caught fire among the “mean girls” of the internet, as it allows random internet dwellers to become the cheering crowd at a gladiatorial event – screaming for mercy or death from the safety of their seats far above the bloodshed.

While this idea may work for people who have committed reprehensible crimes such as murder, rape, and pedophilia, the large majority of people are not irredeemable heathens in need of public flogging. This societal norm teaches our children that they have to be absolutely perfect at all times or risk being “called out” and “exposed” for views on YouTube. It also teaches them that you cannot make up for past mistakes, or ask for grace from people who are largely irrelevant but can have a massive influence on your life. When potential employers Google you, they will forever see that one mistake you made one time. (For a topical example, check out the media doxing of the guy they suspect is behind the “drunk Nancy Pelosi” video. They even had Facebook’s help for this one.)