How does technology affect the relationship between the parents and the children?
"The Veldt," which was written in 1950, explores the alienation and eventual replacement of the parents of two children as a result of the Happylife Home technology.
The HappyLife Home nursery allows the children to explore worlds that they create in their imaginations. The parents fear the room and want to shut down the room because of the African veldt they see in the nursery. They see the nursery as something that is taking away their roles as parents. Lydia, the children's mother says, "I feel like I don't belong here. The house is wife and mother now, and nursemaid. Can I compete with an African veldt?"
In fact, the parents can't even punish the children because they fear their reactions. George, the children's father, says that he shut the room for just a few hours and "the tantrum he threw! And Wendy too. They live for the nursery."
The technology extends beyond the nursery, however. The HappyLife Home system cooks, cleans and even bathes the children. So it's no surprise when the children become protective of their virtual parent. When the Hadleys suggest shutting down the home for a few days, the children react as one would expect children to react. Peter, their son, says, "Don't let Father kill everything," and then tells his father, "Oh, I hate you!"
This anger turns to action as the children lure their parents into the nursery and lock them in to be eaten by the beasts of the veldt.
The story has particular poignancy today because of the mobile technology that creates a different world that is now available for children.