But what, asks the Netflix sci-fi series Black Mirror – and it’s a question that stalks creator Charlie Brooker’s work more than any other – if we’ve got that all wrong? What if the operative word isn’t “digital” but “native”? What if the young have adapted to the new order perfectly well, and the people who really can’t handle it are us, the non-natives, the catcher-uppers? What if we’re the ones who will lose our sense of, first, proportion, then of morality and finally, self? What if the main problem for the next generation is not how to handle new technology but how to watch us not handling it and not hate us?
The mother ... is denatured by her control, incapable of stopping what she has started, careless of her daughter’s privacy and autonomy to the point that she becomes locked in the hyper-surveillance of parenting a baby even as the baby becomes a teenager. It’s not her daughter she infantilises, but herself: the act of trying to shield a child from the world is fruitless but not inconsequential. Compulsive prying transmutes into an elaborate narcissism, where her own need to know her daughter’s whereabouts is uppermost, any consideration of privacy or respect secondary. Like any addiction, it feeds itself; the more she controls, the less she can relinquish.
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