Rites of passage in late noughties childhood

His first pound from the Tooth Fairy. His first gigabyte from Mum and Dad
His first pound from the Tooth Fairy. His first gigabyte from Mum and Dad.

We modern parents are sometimes accused of neglecting the enjoyment of childhood here and now, in order to lay down a catalogue of memories to be looked back on from afar.

We pack our children’s lives with structured activities, with classes and certificates, with trips to theme parks and zoos, seaside and stately homes, so that one day we’ll be able to say things like “you remember Chatsworth, you went there when you were three!”

No event is valid unless recorded, starting pre-cradle with the iconic, grainy ultrasound scan image (“Is that his tummy or her head?”) and then on through the photographing and videoing of even the most minor milestones (“Look he’s dribbling, take a picture!”).

I cannot deny the evidence of my photostream. It proves I have done all these things.

But increasingly the eye behind the LCD is not mine: my three sons want a piece of the action. For every cute picture posted to Flickr there’s another of a small, blurred hand reaching out to grab the camera.

Our middle one turns six this week. He is getting his first digital camera, and with it his first billion bytes of digital memory. He’s cutting his teeth on curating his own content. From now on, he tells his own story. The possibilities are endless.

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