The Internet

Today Wolfe received his first round of immunizations. Imagine the worst pain you’ve experienced in your life. For Wolfe, that was today. I tried to tell him he’d experience much more, even worse, pain in his future. He was not comforted.

My wife and I never considered skipping or modifying our son’s immunizations. I know some parents do, and that’s fine–just let us know so we can keep Wolfe away from your kid until he has all his doses. There’s a reason we don’t have to worry about things like, say, polio these days. That reason: vaccines.

I completely understand that the government, or “The Man,” is always trying to keep us down. I know that medicine and science change and evolve over time. If you’re sure that vaccines are bad for your kid, then you shouldn’t get them.

But now I’m to the cranky part of my post, which coincides with the title. There is plenty of information at our fingertips today via the Internet. So much, in fact, that you can find support for almost any crazy idea out there. It’s not all true, of course, and data and statistics are often manipulated to support whatever a person believes. Plus, any idiot can write a blog (case in point) and espouse any wild philosophy they choose.

For example, world renowned medical expert Donald Trump has verified that immunizations cause autism. Despite much evidence to the contrary, many parents agree. The reality is, the spectrum of autism disorders (and the fact that 100 years ago they didn’t even have a diagnosis) makes finding a cause for autism extremely tough.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s plenty of pro-vaccine propaganda too. For example, Ben Franklin is often trotted out in an appeal to authority. Which is exactly my complaint: the Internet is frustratingly inclusive. (It even tricked a bunch of us into thinking we were Back to the Future.)

Although I’m using vaccines as my jumping off point, for new (and often irrationally scared) parents, there are any number of panic-inducing ideas out there. Because of the Internet, my wife has worried she’s not feeding our son correctly. I’ve been convinced that Wolfe is falling behind because he can’t read. We’ve both worried that we’re giving him too much tummy time (and then not enough tummy time).

I’m not a Luddite. The Internet can be great. When Wolfe started spewing milk out of his nostrils like he was auditioning for The Exorcist, it was nice to be able to find out that it was completely normal. So I don’t advocate eliminating the Internet. I just suggest caution, especially for new parents. Don’t let yourself get too neurotic.

And don’t just click every link you see. All things on the Internet are not equal.

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4 comments

  1. Great post, Matt! This would be a hard decision for me. You both are handling it well. Lucky Wolfe!

    1. Thanks, Sally!

  2. Kristin (Natalie's friend from college) · · Reply

    Don’t EVER look up sleep advice on the Internet. Apparently if you let your child cry for 1/2 second, you are the devil. It’s enough to make 1st (or 2nd) time parents crazy!!

    1. I’ve read some of these and on a few occasions worried that we were dooming Wolfe to years of expensive therapy because he cried for half a minute or so before being attended to.

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