LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Consider the children on our covers, each of them celebrities by inheritance, each of them celebrities in their own right—each of them familiar to millions of people, and therefore open to criticism. It’s not an easy to way to live (though one could argue that earning millions in endorsement deals doesn’t necessarily make a hard life, either), but no one seems too surprised, because this is how things work now. Our entire lives are on display, and we all live and die by the number of followers and Likes and so forth. We’re all Kardashians, but it’s just that these kids—and their parents—do it better than the rest of us.
The challenges that face the modern dad are all new—their own fathers have nothing to teach them about navigating the labyrinthine traps of the Internet. All parents have to make up the rules as they go along, and they go along at the speed of information these days. That’s true for all of us, celebrity or not, with a million followers on social media, or a hundred. It’s an all-new world where reach is power, and power is amplified. And when power is amplified, it is also open to abuse.
“While the power of new platforms is wellknown, what is less recognized are some of the potentially harmful consequences of engaging in these spaces: surveillance, censorship, intimidation, harassments and attacks,” writes Minar Pimple, the senior director of global operations at Amnesty International, “It is frightening to think that the digital space—which holds so many opportunities for communication and collaboration—can also be a space for increased repression and intolerance.”
The writer is referring to the danger of repressive governments, but he might as well be talking to all of us, since all of us are part of the sticky web of social media; all of us part of the hivemind, and all of us, in varying degrees, complicit and culpable in whatever power it wields, and party to the birth of it’s monsters. Children are vulnerable. They’ve always been vulnerable. But today we’ve given them new vulnerabilities, multiplied by as many followers and anonymous eyes that see them.
But again, consider the father, standing just out of frame in so many of our photos. They remain, as always, the guardians, the teachers, the defenders. They have to operate in these fast and confusing times, but (we hope) they have also become stronger for it. Now, as ever, they are the first thing that stands between us and the abyss.