Our parents warned us the internet would break our brains. It broke theirs instead.

My college dorm was the first place I had reliable home internet access, and that was in part because my mom shared all the late 1990s and early 2000s parenting fears about the internet breaking our brains.

These worries were an extension of prior concerns about television: Don’t sit so close! You’ll hurt your eyes looking at a screen that long. How many hours today? That stuff rots your mind. You’re getting manipulated by ads. Go outside. Go see your friends. No, you can’t see an R-rated movie — those images will be in your brain forever. No, we’re not watching that on a school night.



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