Two important premises: I am the father of a 17-year-old teenager, so the concepts on which I reflect are not only thought of a theoretical point of view but are continually tested in the pragmatic daily life of a family that continues to think and convey positivity about the future to give to our children.
I also state that what I write applies to current society worldwide even if virgin spaces still exist due to a rare combination of difficulty in accessing everything digital and the persistence of collective values and cooperation, which prevail over individualism and appearance.
I wrote this article before the media attention exploded on the abuse of mobile phones by young people and how this is the consequence of the excessive use of those same tools by the parents of these young people, who encourage their use to not to be disturbed and to thus have the “freedom” to do what really matters to them and thus avoid the effort and sacrifice of accompanying them, of setting limits, of guiding them and thus making authority prevail. It is undoubtedly a truly negative signal for our society that, instead of investing time in educating, we prefer to prohibit and use school as the main source for education; It is undoubtedly very negative that, thanks to the non-presence of their parents, children come into contact with pornography in childhood, confusing deep feelings with sexual practices.
I have the feeling that young people, but above all a good segment of current adults, permanently suffer from the syndrome of never being in the place where life is worth living; it is as if they were permanently in a place of passage and gray existence, while they have the illusion that color and life are always elsewhere.
Elsewhere where the friend is with her boyfriend; elsewhere where the relative is eating in a restaurant with a spectacular decoration; elsewhere where the friend is surfing; elsewhere where the ex is sipping an aperitif with his new flame, elsewhere where a friend is rehearsing the latest steps in Tik-Tok…elsewhere…always elsewhere.. while ourselves we have to endure the boring and gray everyday life…!
How many of us, every day, come across scenes like these: groups of young people who gather in the same place but each continues immersed in his own virtual world; I even attended a meeting of this type, in which everyone was immersed in their virtual world and at the same time they “spoke” to each other, not verbally but exchanging messages or sharing videos and images received from who knows who and where, without any direct and verbal interaction.
And what about the owners of apartment dogs (not always, the dogs, with apartment sizes!) taking the pet to pee, immersed in their cell phone, while the dog patiently waits to be able to play a bit or at least to be considered with a caress.
Or couples physically tangled on a bench, laughing accomplices not of being together and the magic of mutual discovery, but of a stupid Tik-Tok post, uploaded just to check that the followers are still there.
And what about parents at the playground with their children, disturbed in their surfing the web and sharing the contents found there with other parents, by the fact that their children ask for their attention to show off their prowess; however, I have seen these same parents very ready to scream hysterically and “defend” their children if someone or something calls into question the primacy of their heirs. Even when we are at a bar with friends, you can’t help but ask Google about that actor’s age or whether it’s true that “X” said a certain thing on a certain topic, and then discuss and feel strengthened in the own opinion if it coincides with that present in the metaverse…
If a “Martian” arrived or if someone returned from the past and saw all this, he would conclude that all these individuals would really like to be in the places and situations visualized on their cell phones and that if they could, they would send to hell the present and the objective reality of the world in which they are physically forced to stay.
Why does this happen? Why do we martyr ourselves with what is not present or what we cannot have instead of enjoying what we could experience in the present and in everyday life? Why do we tend to think that others always have more and better fun than us? Why is personal happiness only a derivative of other people’s happiness posted on Instagram?
Because we are unfortunately immersed in a continuous showcase in which foul-mouthed and arrogant but baseless chatter prevails over silent effort and knowledge derived from learning; in which the dictatorship of arrogant appearance prevails over the acceptance of one’s own fragility and humility and over the acceptance of others for what they are and not for what they appear to be.
We live in an era where “positivity” and “being happy at all costs” negates conflict and fail. Fail seems to be a stigma, a shame that must be denied or hidden, instead of accepting it and considering it as a learning opportunity.
How does all this reflect on our children? For me, having a relationship with my children means dedication to continually trying to build bridges. The parent who is unavailable due to a smartphone or tablet will generate a child who will replicate that action or will “declare war” with tantrums or challenging requests and, when adolescents, if all goes well, creating a bubble in which the adult will never enter.
It seems to me that more than isolated young people have not developed that concept of relationship in which one feels deeply accepted and loved and which therefore helps to understand the value of relationships that last over time and the consequent gestures that must accompany them. In order to grow, children need to deal with “authority” not in the term of authoritarian but of authoritativeness; but at the same time, they need to compare themselves with themselves, through comparison with their peers. If this comparison does not exist or translates into sharing experiences posted with the only purpose to obtain the greatest number of likes, the risk of feeling alone is absolutely high.
From the parent’s point of view, all of this requires time, dedication, altruism, content and not appearance, security, strength, resilience, infinite patience and mental and principled solidity; requires cooperation with other “authorities” who must be respected as aids and not as competitors or worse still as elements to be despised in front of their children; it requires listening, above all listening, and not so much prescription. Listening is a matter of the heart; to listen is to host within oneself, for a moment, the life of the other.
Only in this way will we return to understanding and making people understand that the life worth living is the here and the now and consequently would be appropriate giving the best of ourselves in the here and now, separating from ourselves everything that projects us elsewhere.
I am a curious of life with idealistic tendencies and a fighter. I believe that shadows are the necessary contrast to enhance the light. I am a lover of nature, of silence and of the inner beauty. My photographic history is quite silent publicly but very rich personally, studded with some great satisfactions such as: gold and silver winner in MUSE Awards 2023 Special Category; Highly Commended in IGPOTY 2022 Wildflowers Landscapes and Breathing Spaces, published photographer in 1X; honorable mention in Pollux Award 2019; commended in IGPOTY 2019 B&W section; highly commended in IGPOTY 2018 Abstract section; selected in 2014 for Descubrimientos PhotoEspaña and in VIPHOTO. Group exhibitions in: Atlántica Colectivas FotoNoviembre 2015 and 2013; selected for the Popular Participation section GetxoPhoto 2020 and 2015; ”PhotoVernissage (San Petersburgo) 2012; DeARTE 2012 y 2013. A set of my images belongs to the funds of Tecnalia company in Bilbao, to the collection of the "Isla de Tenerife" Photography Center and to the Medicos sin Fronteras collection in Madrid. [Website]