In Back to the Future, once Marty had returned from the 1950s and saved his family, his plan was just to enjoy the moment, his new life, and spend time with his girlfriend. Moments later, however, Doc stormed through his street and pleaded Marty to get into his flying car.
Marty looked at Doc and exclaimed: "Whoa, wait a minute, Doc. What are you talking about? What happens to us in the future? What, do we become assholes or something?"
Upon which Doc Doc responded: "No, no, no, no, Marty!! Both you and Jennifer turn out fine. It's your kids, Marty. Something's gotta be done about your kids!!"
And so here we are today, roughly, at the time of the movie's future year of 2015, basking in this wonderful pandemic (bet they hadn't predicted that eh). And, well, let's be honest, never have Doc's words resonated more with parents than they do today. Simply put, we have to do something to save our children! (and sadly the time machine may not be the solution).
Let's face it: our kids have become full-fledged tech addicts, and this endless pandemic has only made this worse. This is far from a bold or surprising statement. My house, on off-school hours, sounds like a day at the safari, baboons and all. Screaming teen zombies playing games all day, only to leave their rooms when they are hungry, which, on some days, is every half hour or so.
Fortunately, this is the only time they actually do any exercise, running down the stairs, flipping the fridge door open, and ripping through wrappers to get to the cheese or pepperoni sticks which they eat on their way back up the stairs. You'd think the place was on fire if you were to walk into our home. On some days, our house could even pass for a loony bin.
But seriously, in an era where kids are much less physically active, spend far less time outdoors, and are complete screen addicts, I ask myself what will this generation of children and teens look like in the future?
First thing's first: one can expect that they will have very big thumbs. After all, that is the part of the body they use the most when they are playing their video games. That thumb sure gets a lot of exercise (though I'm not so sure about the rest of the body). One can even envision a future where our kids will make successful thumb wrestlers, or become elite hitchhikers. And I think we can all agree that this deserves a very big "thumb up".
Sure, they will have problems with their backs and necks, due to their poor posture, and, obviously, their capacity to focus and concentrate will be thrown out the window (some days I wish it was their PlayStation I could toss out), but hey there will surely be medications for this in the future and if not genetic engineering will certainly have a solution to propose....
Our little robot-monkeys will also likely have very big eyes like ET (though their vision will definitely deteriorate from all this screen time), be hard of hearing, and have some impressive social skills (sarcasm to the max) that will well prepare them for adulthood and promising careers (YouTubers? Influencers?, the real prestigious gigs). Rest assured, though, our alien creatures will eventually leave their homes one day and we will all have our peace and quiet back. Though given how unaffordable real estate has become in the Western world and how much later in life this generation tends to start a family, this probably won't be before they turn 40 (by that time most of us will probably have turned ourselves into the nearest asylum or become full-blown alcoholics). Hopefully, our mutants will still care for us once we are old and invalid. ET, phone home?
Listen, I'm not expecting families to go back to the "Swiss Family Robinson" days of old: you know doing extravagant things like eating as a family or playing outside. And I certainly don't see a future whereby we are building treehouses and going on excursions again. Getting kids to sit down and play board games with their parents is not something we are likely to see very often in a world of endless devices, interactive video games, and virtual reality, but can we not hope for some semblance of balance? It appears not.
Perhaps I'm too much of a dreamer. But I just don't like the direction we are headed in and it feels like we are beginning to resemble cyborgs more than humans, with each passing day.
Oh Doc, please, can you fly me (not sure about my family) back to 1985. Heck, come to think of it, 1885 may be even better.