Hamsini Ravi has two boys, 7 and 1. "As a millennial, I don't use and am quite intimidated by social media platforms like Snapchat and TikTok," she wrote to me. "I do use [other] technology a lot for my work as a communications specialist in the development sector as well as in my personal life. But given the pace at which things are changing, I worry that when my boys are teenagers and young adults, I might be technologically incompetent to shield them from the fake news, divisive opinions, bullying, and hate speech that emanate from social media."
Hamsini was responding to a poll I posted to gauge public mood about one of my biggest parenting fears: that I'll be utterly inept at dealing with the kind of technology that will shape the world as my 5-year-old son grows up. At the time of writing, 58% of respondents said they shared my fear.
When I was growing up in the 80s and 90s in a small industrial town in eastern India, my working-class parents' greatest angst was failing to understand how I would feed myself after taking humanities in high school. That seems like level 1 of Candy Crush compared to the puzzlement facing parents in 2023.
Welcome to the hell of digital parenting.