Sometimes I worry about my grandchildren. Not because there’s anything wrong with them, because there isn’t. In my eyes, they’re both perfect and I seriously doubt if anything is going to change my opinion about that. (If grandmothers can’t provide unconditional love and acceptance, then what’s the point in having them?) It’s just that every now and then, like most parents and grandparents, I find myself worrying about exactly what kind of world they’re going to be living in when they grow up.
There are always plenty of big issues to worry about, and goodness knows we have enough of them these days, but I’m talking more about the little things. Because the world is changing so quickly, and sometimes I wonder if that means that the next generation is going to miss out on so much that I grew up believing was important. I realize that cursive writing, the ability to read a map, make change, and do basic research any way other than looking it up on Google or asking Alexa are all fading away, and I can live with that. (Although I think that relying too much on one source for all your information is never a good thing.) But I was also raised with the belief that I had a right to personal privacy, and I do worry that privacy is a concept that is fast becoming extinct.
It’s not just that all our internet activity is being monitored, stored and sold to the highest bidder. Or even that most households now have a virtual assistant (like Alexa) which has to be listening all the time in order to know when to respond to us. (Remember when almost every spy movie involved finding the “bug” that the enemy had planted in the hero’s house? Now we plant them ourselves, and pay for it.) But I can’t help thinking that children who have grown up having so much of their personal life being played out on-line aren’t going to have the faintest concept of what privacy even is.
I’ve heard the argument that people who have nothing to hide shouldn’t worry about a lack of privacy, but I don’t buy it. Privacy isn’t about hiding our faults and sins. It’s about being in control of what parts of our lives we choose to share with others, and what parts we choose not to share. And I don’t like the idea of that choice being taken away.
This is a public blog, and I make every effort to be completely honest when I’m writing it. I’m very open about my thoughts and feeling on the topics I write about in each post. But there are aspects of my life that I choose not to write about, and that’s usually because I’m either respecting someone else’s privacy or protecting my own. Not every single thing we do, think, or say needs to be for public consumption and the inevitable judgement that comes with it.
Of course a certain amount of sharing ourselves with others is a good thing, and all healthy relationships are based on that. But I believe that what we share, and who we share it with, should always be our own personal choice.