About the Cracking The Kids Code Collection
“Mum, are you back?”
The Earth rotates at 1,670 kilometres per hour, stars crash in the cosmos, black holes swallow up planets like cereal –some even gulp down a sun every couple of days–, and our sky is constantly littered with space junk, whilst down here the younger generations are still glued to their screens, watching a cat chasing a mouse, a hunter chasing a rabbit, and another cat chasing a birdie.
From black and white television to colour TV, from flat screens to tablets and mobile phones, the cartoon world lives on. An infinite carrousel where, come what may, the cat never eats the mouse. And the prey is always smarter than the predator to boot.
“Are you home, dad?”
In real life, we face a similar equation. We, as parents, think we are in control of our relationship with gadgets, but at the end of the day, they are controlling us. The mouse becomes the cat. And we are at its mercy.
Nevertheless, preaching from our higher ground, we demand our kids to limit their use of technology. “Less screen time,” we say, “and more outdoor time.” And we encourage them to explore nature and be amazed by the miracle of creation, leaving the digital life behind as if it were a curtain shrouding reality. However, we ourselves cannot imagine living life without our screens. They are our window into the world. Our rosary. Our Stations of the Cross. Our precious (as Gollum would say). Our new religion.
We are hopeless addicts who encourage people to get clean.
We are kings who cannot govern themselves.
Tourist guides without a map or a compass. Cyclists on an indoor bike. Single-environment adventurers.
Nowadays, it must be weird to be a child. Because parents are just kids bringing up other kids.
“Mummy, are you home?”
YouTube and Netflix offer, commercial-free and non-stop, entertainment that can only be stopped by sleep or death.
At home, daddy doesn’t make the rules. Netflix does. Mum’s recipes are not cool. Now it’s all about cooking with YouTube.
Cartoon characters provide the model for contemporary parents: they live a thousand lives. They survive explosions, hammer blows. They are invincible. They don’t have fathers or mothers. They are wild animals. Living at home. On the streets. They are oblivious to authority. They live by their own rules.
Cartoon characters are unpunishable and immune. They forget guilt, shame and responsibility in the blink of an eye, like dogs.
Cartoon characters fall off cliffs. They get run over by trains. Squashed by grand pianos. And nothing happens.
Cartoon characters never die. Strength and effort are always outdone by smarts. And in the cartoon world, deceit is the best weapon on the planet.
It doesn’t take a behaviouralist guru to realize that progress is a bullet train and humanity is travelling on foot. Living by outdated values. Pedestrian in their spiritual development. Cringey and tiresome in their environmental conscience. We are, in a way, the butt of nature’s joke.
Life, with adults in a permanent tech coma, is an eternal daycare centre where nobody wants to be the authority. Because everybody knows that the authority is always the baddie of the movie.
At home, without anyone to follow, kids simply follow their eyes. Future generations will follow rules that are not dictated by the powers that be or by governments or by artificial intelligence: they are engraved in bronze by a cat and a mouse, a pig and a birdie. They lead by example with the golden rule that governs the world: eat or be eaten.
“Is there anybody home? Mum? Dad? Oh well. Who cares?”
Every kid knows that the truth of the matter is simple: home is where the broadband is.