The internet is a scary place and technology is bad for our children. Or is it?
It's certainly true that our childhoods were less complicated, simpler and less frenetic than those of the little people we're raising in 2015. But it's also true that technology is granting our children amazing and transformational opportunities that we could only have dreamt of as children in the (ahem) 70s and 80s.
Watching direct live pictures from inside the Soyuz capsule as it rocketed off to the International Space Station at 11:03 GMT this morning carrying our newest hero, British astronaut Major Tim Peake was one such transformational moment. Seeing him give a wave and a thumbs up IN REAL TIME as he travelled to the edge of space and watching as the light outside the window beside him gave way to the darkness of space, was an incredible opportunity made possible only because we live in a world of technological advancement and global communications.
In the countdown to Major Tim's launch over the last few days, my sons (nearly 11 and 8) have had their minds officially blown. They have their future careers mapped out in front of them. They're going to be astronauts and scientists, obvs. But unlike countless kids throughout history who looked up at the skies and wildly proclaimed 'I'm going to be an astronaut when I grow up', this generation - our children - actually stand a chance of working out, while they're still young enough, how to do it.
And we have technology - and more precisely, the childhood evil twins of the internet and social media - to thank for that.
Louis is painstakingly researching every aspect of Major Tim Peake's career to this point. He's using the internet to find out how old he is, what he studied at school, the science and flight experience he needed to be accepted on ESA's astronaut training programme and the physical tests he had to pass in order to become the first publicly-funded British astronaut on the ISS. He's looking at Nasa's Instagram feed and reeling in delight to see their recent call for applications from 'the next generation of explorers'. He's looking over my shoulder at Tim Peake's tweets and he's watching Commander Chris Hadfield's rendition of Space Oddity on board the ISS for the millionth time. He's reading Chris Hadfield's book, amassing facts and building plans. Yes, he's still daydreaming and wishing, but he's got a foundation, a kernel of an idea and who knows where it will lead?
Xavier wants to know how astronauts wee in space, what food they eat, what sort of science experiments Tim Peake will conduct aboard the space station and how that will help us in the future. He wants to know if I know any astronaut parents he could talk to (I don't) or failing that, if I know anyone who was in the Navy as if he can't fly to space for a living, he wants to take charge of helicopters that land onboard ships. He's drawing pictures and looking at the Planets app on my iPhone.
Yes they're still fanciful boyhood dreams but the difference with our generation of children is that they're thinking real, practical thoughts about grown-up jobs (albeit fantastic, incredible ones open to only the most elite candidates) at a time when, thanks to the internet and global communications, they can actually find out hard facts about how to turn those dreams into reality, early enough and easily enough to steer the choices they make in their learning and education as they grow up.
So tonight, after Xavier's school Nativity play, we'll rush home and gather round the TV to watch the Soyuz capsule dock with the ISS and hear Tim Peake's first words live from space. We'll check out the next visible pass of the International Space Station over our little patch of sky and we'll make a note to dash out then and wave at our man on the ISS.
Because it's good to have dreams and it's even better to make them happen. And if the internet, technology and social media can play a part in inspiring our children to make concrete plans that will help them turn their dreams into reality, then long live technology.
Safe trip Major Tim!