That Time My Kid Googled Me and I Was No Longer “Dad”
The repercussions of your online presence as a parent
“Hey Daddy, are you popular?” My eight-year-old daughter ambushed me one Sunday morning, her voice squeaking equally with cheekiness and curiosity.
“Huh?” I said, deep in a different thought as I looked up from my phone, half-dazed in a scrolling coma.
“Are you famous?” She hugged her iPad to her chest like it held information that could risk national security.
“Why do you ask?” I quizzed, suddenly giving her my full attention, courtesy of my ego recognizing a stroking opportunity.
She flipped the iPad around. “Because I just googled your name and there are lots of photos and links and stories about you.”
I couldn't help but break into a smile. (Ego successfully stroked.) But then also a sense of dread as I thought, “Oh geezus…what has she seen?”
I grew up in the 1980’s, when the pinnacle of technology in the house was the video cassette recorder. Although, we were the poor souls with the Betamax model. I vividly remember going to the video rental store with my parents, spoilt for choice with a grand total of — wait for it — about six movies to pick from! Seriously, ‘The Goonies’? Again?! I mean, I'd seen it that many times I was convinced searching for One-Eyed Willy's treasure was a viable career goal for me.
Meanwhile, the VHS elite were drowning in a cinematic paradise with shelves upon glistening shelves lined with endless entertainment and exclusive access to ‘rent one new release and get ten weekly rentals for free’ deals. Not that I was jealous. Do I seem jealous? (If you were born after about 1995 you probably don’t know what I’m talking about. Sorry. You’re young, you’ll get over it.)
Anyway, you know what wasn’t around in my ’80s childhood? Facebook friend requests, Instagram filters, LinkedIn thought leadership pieces, texting, mobile phones, or, God forbid, even Medium. The Internet? That sounded more like some sort of upperclass racquet sport to me back then.
In those days, what we knew about stuff was mostly limited to what we could observe happening around us in real-time. Certainly, when it came to my…