Blink—And They're Grown

Parents, Families and Child Care

How comfortable are YOU with technology?

Two years ago, my daughter asked me to get her a tablet for Christmas. I thought to myself, this will be an easy gift to purchase and pick out. I went to a nearby office supply store and selected the best tablet that I could find. The tablet had a fancy cover, lots of pages and it was pink. I knew my daughter would cherish the tablet and happily add it to her container of art supplies.

Original image courtesy of Lucélia Ribeiro.

Original image courtesy of Lucélia Ribeiro.

Several weeks after my purchase my nieces were home for Thanksgiving. They posted themselves on the couch in the family room while the adults prepared the Thanksgiving feast in the kitchen. I walked in the family room and noticed my daughter staring over her cousin’s shoulder at a screen that appeared to be a Portable DVD Player. When I asked her what movie she was watching, my 4-year-old daughter looked at me as if I had spoken in a foreign language. She replied, “This isn’t a movie, we’re playing a game on Kennedy’s tablet!”

Prior to this, I had never seen a tablet before. I’d heard people ramble on and on about e-readers and iPads, but I’d assumed that what my daughter had asked for was a notebook. As a result, I had to return the tablet I purchased at the office supply store so my daughter would not realize just how out of touch with technology her mother truly was.

I felt more of the same when I had to purchase a new cell phone recently. I was determined not to purchase a phone with lots of technical features; afraid to purchase anything other than a basic phone that would only allow me to talk and text. But I let my technology guard down and allowed the sales representative talk me into purchasing a smart phone, and now I have to rely on both of my children to help me operate it!

I don’t feel as out of touch as I did that Thanksgiving, but when my 10-year-old son can type one word into Google in order to research facts needed to complete his science report for school and my daughter can ask Siri to give her directions to the nearest American Girl Doll store, I remember the days when we used encyclopedias to research and phone books to locate stores. It’s a new world! And sometimes I’m just not sure of my place in it.

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