It seems like only yesterday, Judd Apatow‘s daughter Maude was an adorable child used mainly as a prop/punchline, but now she’s a well-spoken young woman capable of writing thoughtful, New York Times-style essays about the dangers of social media. Furthermore, her recent essay about her Twitter addiction is something many adults can relate to, to a scary degree.
You can read the whole thing over at Hello Giggles, but basically, it’s about how Twitter and other iPhone apps are eating up her time with mindless activity that leaves her feeling empty inside (you and me both, kid):
I used to write more, before I got addicted to technology. I was going through my old journals from elementary school, pre-cell phone, and saw that I wrote so many short stories and poems. The excuse I tell myself is that I don’t have time, but that isn’t true. I do have time, but I am wasting it reading tweets and looking at Willow Smith’s Instagram. The amount of time that I spend on my phone scares me. The amount of time I see other people on their phones makes me realize that what I’m doing isn’t important and I shouldn’t be wasting my time. Getting invested in other people’s relationships just makes you feel bad about yourself and maybe feeling bad feels good sometimes.
While it would be easy to make fun of a middle schooler for being sad her productivity has dropped since elementary school (as Jezebel already has), I think Maude has a point. It’s not necessarily about productivity (as writing is not, in fact, her job), but spending time doing things you find fulfilling. Whether a kid likes to write, draw, or go cow-tipping, it’s important for that kid to be able to enjoy doing those things without checking her phone every ten seconds. I feel the same way about all the crappy television I watched as a kid; in retrospect, I probably should have been playing outside or something. (My children will be given only reams of office paper for entertainment, so as to spark their imaginations.) Disturbingly enough, she even says she didn’t enjoy the classic rite of passage that is summer camp because she wasn’t allowed to have her smart phone there. If bug juice and gimp bracelets can’t lure a kid away from the Internet, I don’t know what to believe in anymore.
She also touches upon the instant gratification/instant haters that suck so many people into Twitter; some of the people on Twitter make you feel bad about yourself, so you have to keep using Twitter to feel good about yourself again. Shit’s like drugs! While I’m disturbed that 14-year-olds are having these problems during such crucial years of emotional and mental development, I’m impressed at how self-aware this kid is about it. And judging from her essay-writing abilities, I think her brain’s going to be just fine.