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.)
Little girls are looking up to photoshopped “models” on Instagram who post pictures of their butts for likes, and little boys are the current targets of a fight about the definition of “masculinity.” Everyone has an opinion on everything, regardless of their actual knowledge on a subject, and the level of fake news and misinformation is so high that it takes FBI-level investigative research to find the actual truth about anything. The internet is a toxic cesspool of angry people who expect perfection of others while sporting an “Only God Can Judge Me” tattoo.
In a world where saying something that is less than politically correct can get you excommunicated to the Island of Misfit Ideas, how is anyone expected to learn and grow? Millennials complain that the pressure on them is so high that it’s increasing suicides and diagnoses of depression and anxiety, yet that appears to be a fire that we are fueling ourselves. By expecting perfection and denying compassion in exchange for a chance to virtue signal our “goodness” to others, we increase the demands on ourselves. We are adding to our own hardships and are consistently surprised by the negative consequences.
Allowing children to grow up in this environment will effectively replace their own desires and personalities with those expected by everyone else on the internet. They will become robotic copies of what society expects them to be. It’s not fair that people they will never meet should have so much influence on how they live their lives and develop as human beings, so it’s our responsibility to unplug our children and allow them to blossom away from the critical eyes of the culture vultures. We could wipe out this toxicity with a cleansing fire in one generation if we all did our part.