I was born in the house my father built, but it was ruled by my mother, Ann. It was 1998, and the analog world was crumbling in the face of the digital revolution. Most saw this impending shift as an accomplishment to be heralded. A few saw it as an inevitability to be managed. But Ann saw the digital age for what it would be—a siege upon the human psyche.
Guided by raw instinct, Ann defended her children, launching into the breach with a crusader’s zeal. There was to be no TV on weekdays. Video game consoles were verboten. Computer time was strictly limited to two hours per week of Freddi Fish or similar CD-ROM games. Relative to my surroundings, to my friends who had Game Boys in their pockets and televisions in their rooms, my upbringing was austere in a way that felt personal. “Why me, why do I