genuine question for those of you who are comfortable answering: how old were you when you started using the internet & do you regret using it that young


#like six maybe? #I read a lot of Nethack guides #had an email address but only emailed family members #at nine I hung out on the official Chalkzone fan forum and enjoyed my time there #I don’t regret *my* childhood Internet usage but also I wasn’t wandering through the wilds of TikTok as a toddler #like OP describes being horrified by #I think probably by the standards implied in OP’s tags I started Using the Internet [lurking] at 13 and Using the Internet [posting] at 17 #everything before that was pretty small-pond and/or child-friendly stuff #(I mean I did run into some pornographic pop-up ads once as a kid) #(I just calmly closed them and moved on) #(admittedly my parents were surprised I took that so well) #…I think there *are* still‚ like‚ child-friendly games and stuff out there? #obviously I don’t seek them out anymore‚ so I don’t know about stuff *specifically* for children #but like I meet quite a few people on Flight Rising who are openly children (and probably more who are less open) #and that’s a pretty chill environment too? #we trade pixel dragon money and I politely warn them if they’re offering me a deal too strongly slanted in my favour #(I politely warn adults and unspecifieds too) #tag rambles #surveys





Gen Z is awesome and generational fighting is bad, but I do sometimes talk to Gen Z folks and I’m like… oh… you cannot comprehend before the internet.

Like activists have been screaming variations on “educate yourself!” for as long as I’ve been alive and probably longer, but like… actually doing so? Used to be harder?

And anger at previous generations for not being good enough is nothing new. I remember being a kid and being horrified to learn how recent desegregation had been and that my parents and grandparents had been alive for it. Asking if they protested or anything and my mom being like “I was a child” and my grandma being like “well, no, I wasn’t into politics” but I was a child when I asked so that didn’t feel like much of an excuse from my mother at the time and my grandmother’s excuse certainly didn’t hold water and I remember vowing not to be like that.

So kids today looking at adults and our constant past failures and being like “How could you not have known better? Why didn’t you DO better?” are part of a long tradition of kids being horrified by their history, nothing new, and also completely justified and correct. That moral outrage is good.

But I was talking to a kid recently about the military and he was talking about how he’d never be so stupid to join that imperialist oppressive terrorist organization and I was like, “Wait, do you think everyone who has ever joined the military was stupid or evil?” and he was like, well maybe not in World War 2, but otherwise? Yeah.

And I was like, what about a lack of education? A lack of money? The exploitation of the lower classes? And he was like, well, yeah, but that’s not an excuse, because you can always educate yourself before making those choices.

And I was like, how? Are you supposed to educate yourself?

And he was like, well, duh, research? Look it up!

And I was like, and how do you do that?

And he was like, start with google! It’s not that hard!

And I was like, my friend. My kid. Google wasn’t around when my father joined the military.

Then go to the library! The library in the small rural military town my father grew up in? Yeah, uh, it wasn’t exactly going to be overflowing with anti-military resources.

Well then he should have searched harder!

How? How was he supposed to know to do that? Even if he, entirely independently figured out he should do that, how was he supposed to find that information?

He was a kid. He was poor. He was the first person in his family to aspire to college. And then by the time he knew what he signed up for it was literally a criminal offense for him to try to leave. Because that’s the contract you sign.

(Now, listen, my father is also not my favorite person and we agree on very little, so this example may be a bit tarnished by those facts, but the material reality of the exploitative nature of military recruitment remains the same.)

And this is one of a few examples I’ve come across recently of members of Gen Z just not understanding how hard it was to learn new ideas before the internet. I’m not blaming anyone or even claiming it’s disproportionate or bad. But the same kids that ten years ago I was marveling at on vacation because they didn’t understand the TV in the hotel room couldn’t just play more Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on demand – because they’d never encountered linear prescheduled TV, are growing into kids who cannot comprehend the difficulty of forming a new worldview or making life choices when you cannot google it. When you have maybe one secondhand source or you have to guess based on lived experience and what you’ve heard. Information, media, they have always been instant.

Society should’ve been better, people should’ve known better, it shouldn’t have taken so long, and we should be better now. That’s all true.

But controlling information is vital to controlling people, and information used to be a lot more controlled. By physical law and necessity! No conspiracy required! There’s limited space on a newspaper page! There’s limited room in a library! If you tried to print Wikipedia it would take 2920 bound volumes. That’s just Wikipedia. You could not keep the internet’s equivalent of resources in any small town in any physical form. It wasn’t there. We did not have it. When we had a question? We could not just look it up.

Kids today are fortunate to have dozens of firsthand accounts of virtually everything important happening at all times. In their pockets.

(They are also cursed by this, as we all are, because it’s overwhelming and can be incredibly bleak.)

If anything, today the opposite problem occurs – too much information and not enough time or context to organize it in a way that makes sense. Learning to filter out the garbage without filtering so much you insulate yourself from diverse ideas, figuring out who’s reliable, that’s where the real problem is now.

But I do think it has created, through no fault of anyone, this incapacity among the young to truly understand a life when you cannot access the relevant information. At all. Where you just have to guess and hope and do your best. Where educating yourself was not an option.

Where the first time you heard the word lesbian, it was from another third grader, and she learned it from a church pastor, and it wasn’t in the school library’s dictionary so you just had to trust her on what it meant.

I am not joking, I did not know the actual definition of the word “fuck” until I was in high school. Not for lack of trying! I was a word nerd, and I loved research! It literally was not in our dictionaries, and I knew I’d get in trouble if I asked. All I knew was it was a “bad word”, but what it meant or why it was bad? No clue.

If history felt incomprehensibly cruel and stupid while I was a kid who knew full well the feeling of not being able to get the whole story, I cannot imagine how cartoonishly evil it must look from the perspective of someone who’s always been able to get a solid answer to any question in seconds for as long as they’ve been alive. To Gen Z, we must all look like monsters.

I’m glad they know the things we did not. I hope one day they are able to realize how it was possible for us not to know. How it would not have been possible for them to know either, if they had lived in those times. I do not need their forgiveness. But I hope they at least understand. Information is so powerful. Understanding that is so important to building the future. Underestimating that is dangerous.

We were peasants in a world before the printing press. We didn’t know. I’m so sorry. For so many of us we couldn’t have known. I cannot offer any other solace other than this – my sixty year old mother is reading books on anti-racism and posting about them to Facebook, where she’s sharing what’s she’s learning with her friends. Ignorance doesn’t have to last forever.



This just applies to so many things in life. If you don’t know that you don’t know something, how can you ASK about it?

Also research is a skill, not an innate ability in all humans. Research is actually a variety of skills and they’re not always exactly the same when you’re talking about when and where you’re researching.

Knowing the best way to google something isn’t the same as knowing how to find something in a reference book isn’t the same as knowing how a card catalog works and how to navigate research when you have limited access to physical materials.

Sometimes even when people want to educate themselves, they’re lost and confused.

And then when they ask… They get beaten down for daring to ask instead of “educating themselves” because people forget that asking questions from sources you trust is part of trying to educate yourself.


#(I don’t actually endorse a lot of the OP‚ I’m too hobbity‚ but:) #FTR I was 12 when I learned what ”fuck” meant #(so this would’ve been…December 2005‚ I think) #my mom got a copy of The Time Traveller’s Wife for Hanukkah that year and I read it while she wasn’t looking #that is also how I learned what oral sex was #I’d heard the *term* before (mentioned in news articles)‚ but I’d figured it was‚ like‚ phone sex #but no it is *so* much less sanitary than that #(meanwhile I hadn’t realised beforehand that ”fuck” would *have* a meaning) #(I’d assumed it was pure expletive‚ kind of like an interjection) #also‚ part of the trouble with tech changing so fast is that it can be hard to distinguish lack-of-autonomy-because-you-were-a-child with #lack-of-autonomy-because-your-society-was-incapable-of-giving-people-as-much-autonomy-as-it-can-now #do Kids These Days still have book series where #they’ve only read books 1 and 5 because they haven’t yet had an opportunity to get their hands on 2 – 4? #I can really see that going either way #God knows an adult in the early 00’s who wanted a copy of The Reptile Room could have driven to Barnes and Noble and bought one #if–and here we come back to one of OP’s points–it had *occurred* to them to do so #I was *used* to operating under very limited resources as a child #and if my standards and knowledge had been higher I *could* have done more with what I had #(I checked *new-to-me* series out of the library all the time) #(yet somehow it never occurred to me to check out the missing books of series I owned part of) #(even when the library totally would have had them) #(I still haven’t read half the Chronicles of Narnia) #tag rambles #politics cw #discourse cw? #our roads may be golden or broken or lost #my childhood


I’m not usually one to advocate in favour of gender roles, but it’s my firm belief that no matter what your family unit’s parent-and/or-guardianship situation is, it’s essential to your children’s proper upbringing that one of those parents-and/or-guardians be the designated Person Who Makes Dad Jokes.


#I didn’t find out until well into my twenties that Dad Jokes were a whole Thing #I thought it was just my dad #to be fair he is exactly the sort of person who would independently invent dad jokes #gender #my childhood

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@rustingbridges replied:

tomatoes really don’t travel well

they’re one of the fruits where the supermarket variety is the supermarket variety because it survives the trip, not because they’re good

meanwhile tomato plants are really low effort. if you have favorable conditions you can do literally nothing

Where are you *finding* conditions that aren’t full of weeds and wildlife-competing-with-you-for-the-food and the occasional blight? A greenhouse?

(…actually, that might not be a bad idea. I *have* heard of people building little personal greenhouses in their backyards, and nothing keeps squirrels from taking one bite out of your mom’s tomato and walking away like a fucking *door*, right?)

Re: surviving the trip, home-grown zucchinis taste about the same but we’ve noticed the shelf life is *vastly* longer. Store-bought zucchinis start to shrivel up and go soft within a few days of bringing them home; home-grown zucchinis can sit in the fridge for several *weeks*. Makes it a lot easier to plan your meals.

Honestly, probably a good part of my problem with gardening is that, because *Mom* loves home-grown tomatoes for some fucking reason, they end up the focal point of the garden and a great deal of my gardening-related labour is thoroughly alienated: I never see the fruits *or* the vegetables of my labour.

A garden optimised for what *I* thought was most worth growing would have zero tomatoes and more garlic and zucchini, with perhaps just enough potatoes to keep in practice so that I can put potatoes in the victory garden. And probably more perennials like mulberries. And possibly mushrooms. And I would want to do a bunch of research and expert-consultation regarding which weeds are secretly edible, since anything *that* easy to grow sounds like something I should take advantage of.

(I’ve been meaning to do some more digging into how to eat dandelions. I’ve heard you can put the new greens in salads and the petals in pancake batter, but I don’t normally eat salads *or* pancakes. Can you just, like, munch on a raw dandelion flower straight-up? Can I fulfil my childhood dream of eating a pretty flower I found in the backyard?)

@larshuluk replied:

Yeah, you can just munch any part of dandelion – I often do that when I’m reading in the garden. Older leaves get bitter and shouldn’t be eaten in big amounts, and roots need cooking. Flower is just fine though.

Hell yeah!

This is another area where I like a lot of the things the communing-with-nature people are putting out but for completely different reasons. I want to know more about the natural world around me *so that I can exploit it better*. Which wildflowers can I eat? What’s the name of that one plant where when you run through a field of them it sounds like popcorn popping? Can I eat those too?!

(I never stopped wanting to stick interesting plants in my mouth: I just learned to resist it, to assume everything was poisonous until proven otherwise. And for the most part, nobody ever taught me which interesting plants I didn’t have to resist.)


#let👏six👏year👏olds👏eat👏pretty👏dandelion👏flowers #replies #gardening #food #my childhood #poison cw? #this probably deserves some other warning tag but I am not sure what

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is there anything more awkward than looking back at your childhood at innocent interactions you had with other kids and thinking “oh…. wow. that was uhhh definitely their early exploration of a fetish, wasn’t it?”






I’m also remembering a lot of games with one particular friend who always found reasons why her character should be tied up. I didn’t mind, because it meant I got to play the Noble Knight Who Rescues The Princess™️ AND the mustache-twirling villain, but it always pissed me off when we paused the game and she would still pretend that she was actually stuck and would fake-struggle for like ten minutes against the most half-hearted jump rope tied in a bow around her arms. Please, knock it off, I just want to go to lunch.




Im gonna be thinking about this tag all day now



Villain: “Can you PLEASE just ride off into the sunset together already?”

Knight: “You’re just letting us go? What’s the catch, blackguard?”

Villain: “No catch. Kidnapping the princess was just supposed to be a distraction while I executed my REAL plan. I did not expect this to take so long and now the window of opportunity has closed… a whole day, wasted.”

Hero: “Look. I am TRYING to rescue her. She just… well.”

Princess: “Ha ha oh nooo it looks like these ropes just wrapped around me somehow… I’m hopelessly trapped…”

Villain: “Ma’am. Your Highness. That’s the power cord to my Xbox.”

Princess: “And it’s getting tighter! Oh no!”

Knight: “I’m sort of uncomfortable. Are you uncomfortable?”

Villain: “Yeah… I know I technically initiated this entire scenario but I’m starting to feel… used, somehow. Like. It doesn’t feel professional.”

Princess: [sarcastically] “Is someone baking a cake?”

Knight: “No?”

Princess: “Huh. Weird. ‘Cause I could swear I smell the overpowering aroma of vanilla in this room.”



does anyone else find this like. sexualizing of children’s games. pretty disturbing?



The games themselves (probably? hopefully?) weren’t recognizably sexual—just early fixations upon things or ideas that seemed maybe a little weird or exasperating at the time if you didn’t share that fascination, but which in retrospect were almost certainly the unrealized roots of your playmate’s later sexual preferences.

It is a bit disturbing to realize that you had some kind of role in developing their, uh, proclivities, but it’s not like Little Jimmy could have meaningfully articulated why he always insisted on the rule that everyone had to take off their shoes to play tag, or known that it would creep his friends out ten years later once he realized he had a foot fetish. It’s awkward but—so long as the games didn’t result in something traumatic—ultimately sort of an unavoidable embarrassment of youth to look back and go, “Oh, that’s what that was…. 😬”



I was reading Perv by Jesse Bering (which in general is only so-so; not enough discussion of the research IMO), and he points out that, where kinks can be traced to a formative experience in childhood, this formative experience often comes well before puberty, like anywhere from five to ten–which is super awkward, because for many reasons our culture likes to draw a bright, clear dividing line between childhood and adulthood, and where that’s not possible, at least between childhood and adolescence. But that’s not always possible! And given how much of human psychology is dominated by romance and physical attraction, it would be weird if that system of the brain didn’t exist some unformed, incipient manner, but sprang into existence suddenly on our 13th birthday or w/e.



I have spoken to a lot of kinky people about this. In my experience, about 50% are like “yeah, in retrospect I was an extremely kinky eight-year-old, not that I had any understanding of any of this at the time.” In other words, I am the playmate here and I apologize to my cub scout troop.

Did the many kinky people you’ve talked to fall into distinct camps of “yeah, in retrospect my insistence on getting my acquaintances to play with me in certain very particular ways was Meaningful” vs “yeah, in retrospect my insistence on *freaking the fuck out* at acquaintances who happened to play in certain very particular ways in my presence was Meaningful”? If so, are there other clear distinctions between said camps?

Whenever I hear stories about childhood selves who don’t know they’re kinky and unwittingly erotic games, the young kinksters are always the ones *instigating* the games. But I was the exact opposite of this! Long before I had any idea why, I knew down in my bones that this was something *important* and *profound* and *private*, and I couldn’t stand to see people taking it lightly and without regard for whether anyone was watching.

(“It’s just a game,” said the girls confused about why I was upset by one of them pretending to hypnotise the other, and they were more confused when that only upset me further. It isn’t *just* anything.)

Don’t get me wrong, I played plenty of in-hindsight-sexual games as a child. But they were always, *always* alone and in private (to the extent that a child can arrange for privacy). (…and would you look at that, I grew up into an asexual adult who finds casual sex extremely unappealing. I feel like these facts might be related, but I have so little data.)

(I worry about the people who think that the senses of importance and privacy people have around sex are invariably *learned*, that they are a collective trauma that we as a society should work to grow past.

I know some people actually do feel deep down like it’s not a big deal, even in spite of having been taught otherwise. And I know vanilla people can’t control for knowledge, can’t see into what “a version of themselves who hadn’t been taught anything at all about how to interpret their desires” would be like. But I can, and I know that I could never have been good enough for them.)


#reply via reblog #sexuality and lack thereof #is the blue I see the same as the blue you see #my childhood #embarrassment squick #rape tw





The worst part of human adulthood is being your own zookeeper

I want to stuff a pumpkin full of raw meat and roll it around my enclosure, but I also know that I’ll have to be the one to clean up afterwards :-(

Take steps to minimize the mess! Put a cheap, disposable plastic tarp down in the area you’ll be rolling it around. And.. Maybe recognize your species-specific needs and cook the meat first

Actually, if we’re going for species-specific enrichment, a pumpkin may not be the best solution. We’re not built for pouncing on prey or batting it around. We’re distinguished by our persistence hunting and tool use

What you should do is put a pack of jerky on top of a roomba, go in another room and count to ten like you’re playing hide and seek – or use this time to find a tool to use – and when you come back, try to catch it by setting a trap or by pinning it down with a stick

When you want a greater challenge, have a friend drive an RC car full of jerky around the park, and chase it until it runs out of battery

One time when I was a kid my parents took a bunch of hollow plastic Easter eggs, filled them with chocolates, and hid them around the house for the kids to find, and it is dawning on me that this was the gathering equivalent of the above hunting enrichment.


#reply via reblog #evolution #games #food #my childhood



When I was a kid I was genuinely horrified by the idea of growing up and I think a large part of it was the insistence by adults in my life that puberty would turn me into someone completely different. They were like “sure you don’t like make up and boys now but you’ll feel differently after puberty” or like “sure you think you wouldn’t want kids now but you’ll see once you’re older”

it’s like damn, stop invalidating kids’ personalities and listen to them and maybe you won’t be so shocked when they don’t transform into a new person later

My wife and I don’t ever plan on having kids, but my Dad always had one piece of parenting advice I’ll never forget.

He said “Pay attention to who your children are when they’re little. If you do that, you’ll never be surprised at who they become. The only people who think kids suddenly become other people when they hit adolescence are the ones who never listened to what their kids were telling them the whole time.”


#yes this #furthermore‚ it has been my experience that even when puberty *does* do shit to you it does not make you *endorse* it #knock on wood‚ but I strongly suspect that even if I *do* get some biological-clock-ticking shit later #I’m still not *actually* going to want kids #it’ll just be another annoying reflex‚ a vestige of ancestral memory #no more meaningful than the urge to jump off cliffs

I Went to Disney World

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{{Title link: https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2020/07/disney-world-during-pandemic-extremely-weird/614617/ }}

{{OP by bambamramfan}}





This article is amazing and wonderful.

I can’t trust any take on Disney from someone so clearly ignorant of what he’s talking about that he can say this with a straight face:

That is because in normal times you must choose perhaps four or five big rides, each lasting mere minutes, and spend hours waiting in line to be admitted to each.

Dude, just showing up at a major Disney ride and expecting to be seated is like just showing up at a fancy restaurant and expecting to be seated: in both cases *you are supposed to make a reservation*. When I went in the autumn of 2015, ride reservations (“FastPasses”) were quite flexible (one-hour usage window) and very often available on a same-day basis: while we *had* reservations months in advance, we made last-minute adjustments to them pretty much every day (you can do this on your phone, thanks to the complimentary Wi-Fi [link]).

(Also a part of me is going “you’re complaining about how expensive everything is and yet you stayed at the fucking *Contemporary*??”, while another part goes “why did the Atlantic send some poor dude with a COVID-19-naive immune system to fucking *Florida*? they’re a bunch of Americans in the summer of 2020: did they *seriously* not have anybody who’d had it already that they could send instead?”)

Still, it’s interesting to hear some reporting from the field. Just…with some caveats.

That is all relatively recent, though. Fastpass was introduced in 1999; I definitely remember the process he describes from when I was growing up. And the author is of course describing how Disney “usually” is off of secondhand reports, since he’s never been before.

But yeah, the article is great as a description of how Disney is now. And the observations about it as being part of the American civic religion aren’t original but they are fairly good points.

I *suppose* you could call 21 years relatively recent compared to the total span of Disney World’s existence, but it’s simultaneously a long time.

I guess a generational thing does add another layer to the bit about his parents refusing to go there: *I* grew up hearing Dad complain about “standing in line for hours for every five minutes of ride” as the reason he refused to go to *Six Flags*, and perhaps even specifically as a reason why Disney was better than Six Flags.

(A bit of context: I was born in 1993 to a family that *was* upper-middle-class at the time and a mom that loves Disney World. I’ve been five times: 1998, 2000, 2001 (we were there on 9/11, it was a hell of a thing), 2004, and 2015. Our trips were generally around 1.5 – 2 weeks long: trying to cram everything into a long weekend is a recipe for exhaustion and FOMO.)

In additional to the description of how things were going on the ground, I thought the bits about the Disney World government having legitimacy in the eyes of its constituents, in a way the American government does not, were an interesting way of looking at it.

P.S. Oh, also we homeschooled, which meant we could arrange to go during the school year (usually in autumn, sometimes winter). So come to think of it, that’s another reason why my experience of Disney would paint it as less crowded (and with less miserable weather!) than many people claim.

(Florida in the autumn is basically the same as New Jersey in the summer: my body was already adapted to that temperature and humidity range in general, and in most cases had the advantage of having *recently used* said adaptations (since New Jersey summer had only just ended). (Though in 2015, when I’d spent the last eight years in Canada, I was pleasantly surprised by how intact my heat tolerance was. My body walked out of the airport into the 95F-and-very-humid dusk, went “Oh hey, it’s summer! I remember summer! I haven’t had summer in *years*!”, flicked a few settings, and happily continued on its way.))


#reply via reblog #my childhood #Disney #politics cw #illness tw #home of the brave #covid19 #homeschool #weather

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the things i would imagine running alongside the car when i was a kid



This is gorgeous and I need a pack of them so we could run through the woods together hunting.



The Runalongs are rare in worlds without fast transportation. It seems they are brought into being when someone, bored by a journey, looks out to watch the countryside go by. They daydream of a creature that follows their path (guarding? Or hunting?) and suddenly, without fanfare, it appears.

Runalongs have little in the way of ecology, but they are known to eat other dreams. Sometimes if the one who called them is particularly lonely or afraid they will get closer and even speak in humming voices without opening their mouths. But the second you stop moving, the creatures turn and vanish behind themselves, disappearing to wherever fantasies come from.

A Runalong can also have other forms; a humanoid figure (without distinct features) is common, and these may also ride things that are supposed to be horses. If only we were better at imagining, then they might not look so terrifying.






Mine were large cat-like creatures



I forget what mine were but I imagined this too! I like the name Runalongs.



Please, I’m nearly 30 and I still have Runalongs join me on long, boring car journeys. They must be able to sense people who are in need of their presence, for company, for entertainment, or are just so used to them being there.



when you put your hand palm down out the window and it jumps and sways in the speed, the pressure you feel, not quite solid but not quite air is the ghostly backs of the runalongs arching up for a pat.



OH HELL YEAH i think mine was always a cheetah or big cat by default



Mine varied, everything from a big cat to an angel on rollerblades (they would leap up and fly over every sign) to something very like these.



The one I remember from when I was young used to run ahead of the car on long car trips at night, in that sort of V-shaped gap where the pools of light from the headlamps start diverging.

The impression I had was that it was something like a fox.


#art #is the blue I see the same as the blue you see #my childhood #(Eyries) #(aliens on rollerblades)


Me, wanting to draw but feeling sour:
Snap Chalkzone who lives in my brain who says ya gotta draw somethin’:



#while normally I am not artistic enough to relate to Relatable Artist Posts #Chalkzone was my first special interest and my inner nine-year-old is always very happy to meet someone else aware of its existence #so I am reblogging on those grounds #art #Chalkzone #my childhood #fanart