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Braindump 2: It's an interesting time to be a kid.

18 June 201402:34PMbraindump

The more I see of what kids these days are into, the more I reckon that this is kind of a golden age in which to be 7-odd years old.

Okay, maybe not the golden age, if I can digress for a moment. I don't think it's got a scratch on, say, the kind of free range adventure-filled existence that popular culture at least tells us existed in the 70s and 80s. But as much as I love that image (and I do), I'm skeptical about how much of it is just nostalgia given that the people currently in charge of making popular culture were largely born then.

Anyway.

I know this is blasphemy, given that our generation is just hitting its pop- cultural stride, but pretty sure being a kid today, right now, beats the crap out of being a 90s kid.

My case comes in four parts:

Minecraft

What, Minecraft? That's still around? Well, yeah. You probably don't realise unless you work with kids, or have... Cousins? Or something? But Minecraft is huge. We were into it and back out of it again well before it was cool, and it is So. Damn. Cool. And that's awesome.

Minecraft is a sandbox in the both senses of the word. That is, not only is it a space where you can do what you want and explore and build and all that stuff, but it's sandboxed in the computing sense of the word too. It's expansive enough that you're not going to want to stray outside of it, and pretty much utterly self contained. I am fine with kids growing up thinking of their PC as a Minecraft machine, because by the time they're ready to get out of that sandbox, they've probably discovered the wonders of Redstone and are therefore basically tiny electrical engineers. Which, as we all know, makes you totally qualified to use the internet.

I guess it's sort of a pale spectre of the free-roaming 70s childhood, only with boolean logic and crenelations instead of slingshots and tire swings. Which is... more relevant these days I guess, if a little less romantic.

Lego

When I walked out of the Lego movie, I thought, "this is going to make so much money, and I am totally fine with that. And yes, there's the $400 million at the box office, but that is a drop in the bucket compared to the spike in Lego sales. Every kid who sees that movie is going to be getting Lego for Christmas.

What's more - the Lego movie is not only snarky and clever, it's the ultimate instruction set on how to play with Lego properly. Leaving aside the whole 'you are special' veneer, the actual moral is that there is no wrong way to play. Or I guess, there is a wrong way, and that wrong way is to rigidly insist that there is a right way. And then enforce that right way with superglue.

A generation of kids who play with Lego, and kids who play with Lego in weird and interesting ways instead of just making what's on the box, and where all of your friends are doesn't he same thing because they got Lego for Christmas too is pretty cool in my book.

Adventure Time

So this is the part where I admit that what I'm doing is actually just listing the things I see on kids t-shirts at work, and nothing makes me happier than seeing Adventure Time on them.

Why? Because that means that either parents are okay with Adventure Time's slightly surreal and sometimes downright twisted aesthetic, or they've relaxed their helicopter tendencies enough to just let their kids just watch whatever.

I don't know whether this is going to result in kids with a weirder sense of humour, or who are more accepting of difference in their lives, or who just have a more interesting sense of aesthetics and a decent appreciation for fantasy tropes. However it turns out, it's sure gong to be interesting watching them grow up.

3D Printing

These kids are going to grow up with 3D printing happening the same way we grew up with high speed internet happening, or the generation before us grew up with videogames becoming a thing. Seeing how they adapt to ubiquitous object fabrication will be pretty fascinating. Hopefully they don't just photocopy their body parts.

I guess that's where I'm going with this. Rather than it necessarily being the best time to be a kid, or... I guess a preferable time to be a kid for me? (I'm pretty happy with my childhood, thanks). But it will sure as hell be an interesting one to watch grow up.

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