I heard a comment the other day where the speaker made a reference to how well his childrens early years are documented due to digital camera, video recorders and cellphones. The more important mention was how all this documentation has already altered their memories of the early years. I thought about it some and yes, I think he is right. My own children have more images and movies of themselves from the last several years than I do from 40 plus years. They watch themselves on the TV or computer play at 6 months old over and over. These memories have been burned into their memory now by just raw repetitiveness.
I wonder how this will affect them in subtle ways ? Us of an older generation always seem to have golden memories of childhood or special events. Thats part of the joy of memories at times. With the barrage of documentation for my kids, I wonder if they are going to loose that fuzziness brought on by the normal diffusion of memory over time. Are they going to have golden memories or just plain old memories and there is a difference.
I think this falls into the “unintended consequences” category. When digital cameras came out, we or at least most of us thought, cool! I can take pictures all the time for cheap. And we can and we did but now we are starting to see some consequences of this ability. I’m not sure if this much documentation is such a good thing but I also understand that fighting it is much like fighting windmills..
I know with my own children, I have backed off the constant documentation of their lives and I have slowed down letting them watch all the slide shows and video clips in order to let them form their own memories first. I’ve seen small changes already just with waiting a few weeks before they see the slide show of the last block party or birthday party. They process their own memories, toss what they dont want and will tell me their favorite parts. Then when they see the slide show it seems to be more enjoyable for them. I also limit how many times they can see it, left to their own devices, they would watch it a zillion times in a row 🙂
Is any of this important? no idea but I dont think I’m hurting anything and who knows, I might be helping them in a small way.
- Your Most Vivid Memory? Maybe It Never Happened (psychologytoday.com)
- How life experiences alter what our genes do. (mindblog.dericbownds.net)
- The Brain: The Flavor Of Memories (time.com)