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Okay. *blows dust off*

I would like to be a little more active on DW. Most of my energy right now is going to Metafilter, but not all of it, and I'd like to be in the habit of writing for myself in my own space more.

So I've got a comment on this thread forming. It's a total derail of the conversation, it's not really helpful there, but I can totally write out what I'm thinking here, right? Right.  

You know, the thing about screen time and Eyebrows' comment upthread, about not seeing many kids moving in herds? In a whole lot of ways, I was socialized as a kid by the Internet. Like, I first started going online on social media when I was about ten, around 2000 or so. I wandered around the Neopets forums, with herds of other users--many of whom were around my age, although I remember there being a few outliers age-wise there too. As I got older, I moved to other places--Gaia Online, AVEN, DeviantArt, the Godawful Fanfiction forums (where I was very definitely underage), Livejournal; I hung out on a lot of forums.

Sure, there were adults there too, but I spent a whole lot of time talking to other people within a few years of my age. In places like GAFF where there were plenty of adults, I developed a sense for how adults conducted their relationships and also what adult social conduct looks like. Almost all of my mental theory of community and ideas about how to interact with large interconnected networks of people were formed on the Internet. My parents did try to police my screen access, but it wasn't a thing they really had the time or attention to do effectively.

Of course, there's always the reason I was on those forums in the first place--they were an easily accessible form of socialization that let me go do things I thought were cool and, more importantly, they were a place where I got to talk about things I thought were interesting where my parents couldn't see me doing it. And that was hard for me to access as a kid! I got a lot of feedback about things I liked being boring or weird, so I went looking for people who found it cool. I certainly could not have gotten, say, transit to go to those places--I didn't drive until I was seventeen and I had no money, and it's not as if there was access anywhere good via public transit in my suburban neighborhood. I didn't happen to be friends with anyone near me, and I was raised to think of "play dates" as a special occasion, not a thing you just do out of the blue. I certainly was never encouraged to go roaming and socialize in any kind of unstructured way, and I don't remember having much access to extracurriculars that weren't organized around improving yourself for college or putting a line on your resume. 

So yeah, maybe kids these days are still carving out time to be kids talking about unstructured things with other kids... they're just doing it over screens rather than in person, because it's hard to find access to places in meatspace without adult control and supervision. It makes me think about how I want to parent, if and when I choose to have kids. I'm an enormous control freak and I find it really hard to watch people blunder without making things into a teaching moment. But at the same time, I think that kind of enthusiastic not-really-a-goal-to-this kind of flailing is really important to development, and I think it would be a really bad, borderline abusive move to curtail it too much in service of directed learning all the time. 

Maybe I'll just sit on my hands a lot.