Jason Fried

March 15, 2021

How Coronavirus kids see the world

I've got two young kids.

Because of the pandemic, a good portion of their outside experiences have been masked. I think this is ultimately to their advantage.

Much of our emotions, reactions, and communications come from the bottom halves of our faces. Our noses, cheeks, and mouths express so much of what's on our mind. The shapes, contortions, and contours tell all. Our eyes are expressive, but they're mostly accessories. The combination of mouth and eyes is powerful, but mouth alone is a lot more revealing than eyes alone.

Yet young kids growing up today have mostly been looking at eyes. Masks cover the rest. Which means they have less to go on. Which means they get better with less, and will be that much further ahead when full resolution — full faces — return.

It's like when you run with ankle weights, and take them off for that last mile. Wow, this is so much easier!

Kids have become expert at reading eyes. Eking out critical information from far less source material. I'm often surprised how much my kids can read my mind through just my eyes these days. This is new.

Last week my son spotted a neighbor across a crowded restaurant (outdoors, of course). "Woah, you're right. How'd you spot her?" I asked. "Her eyes" he responded. No way that's his answer a year ago.

The kids are going to be alright.