Today while we sat at a cafe with cool drinks to endure the heat wave, we watched as two small kids horsed around and posed expertly for photos. Of course there were no cameras, just the usual phones. No doubt the photogenic duo would have been instantly transmitted by the doting adults to their public via everything possible, from Instagram to Twitter. (Pictures on Twitter are called TwitPics. I don't know whether to howl with laughter or tears.)
I make light of this but people's children today are looked at by virtually the whole world. And the kids themselves are so used to posing like their parents that I see kids as young as five making the peace sign (is that what it is, that baffling V everyone seems to be making with their fingers?) and pouting just so before their picture is taken.
By the time they are 14, how many photos of the average child will have been shared across the Internet? I don't want to do the math. But here's my theory. When they grow up, the infants of today will need something to do that their grandparents aren't doing. Presumably the grandparents will still be fooling around with Facebook and the like. So the kids will go back to typewriters, refuse to pose for pictures unless they are with film cameras, and use phones only for talking to far-off people.
By then I hope I would have scored that farmlet in rural Spain, so I will be unaffected. Of course I'm already a first-class curmudgeon - so I'm already unaffected. It's just that at times it's hard to keep biting remarks in check when you see a person with their head down and walking straight into you, personal space in this otherwise personal-space-obsessed culture be damned. And now the latest menace, Pokemon, where this sight is multiplied several times because it's groups of unseeing humans trolling the streets.