A contemporary of mine said the other day that she's so glad she didn't grow up in the era of smart phones and social media because imagine how different her brain would be.
I like her brain the way it is, so I applauded that.
But at the same time I don't quite mourn my daughter's brain, for what it might have been had she grown up watching the boob tube instead of YouTube.
That's because my daughter shows me a kind of cultural literacy and skepticism that I don't think I had at 14, and I think that has something to do with having consumed a lot of media from many more points of view.
Case in point: During the Super Bowl, Chrysler used a Martin Luther King speech for a truck commercial.
About 15 seconds into the commercial and without any doubt in her judgment, she looked at me and said, "Really?"
By the time I was her age I had more books under my belt and much more daydreaming on my Hobbs meter. But I doubt I would have immediately and independently recognized that it was crass to sell cars with Martin Luther King's words. Had an adult pointed it out—as my mother might have—I would have probably agreed with her.
But I do think that consuming social media does teach us to consider the source, whereas back in our golden day, NBC, CBS and ABC made our choices for us. And I think social media, whatever other hideous damage it has done … has made these kids a little savvier, a lot sooner.
Savvier than the people who make advertising for Chrysler trucks, anyway.