Technology in this day and age is amazing and frightening at the same time. I am amazed at all the things that one piece of technology can do. I feel technologically challenged. I need my children to show me how to do things. It comes so natural to them. Gracie can manipulate an iPhone/iPad like it’s no one’s business. Technology has brought up some interesting conversations at the dinner table.
Today’s children have no idea what it was like when we were growing up. One night while my daughter, who was 8 at the time, was trying to argue her point to be able to have a cell phone when she started 4th grade, was blown away when she found out the age I was when I got my 1st “mobile phone”. I was 20 years old (I think). I purchased one because I had started to commute back and forth to Kutztown University. My children laughed so hard! I asked them why they thought this was so funny. I explained to them how they were just coming out with them a couple years prior. Then I started to laugh when they asked me how I made phone calls when I wasn’t at home. It’s called a pay phone. The looks on their faces were priceless. I explained how I always carried a quarter with me “just in case”.
The conversation continued and as I began to talk about the things my children have never heard of or will ever have the pleasure of experiencing, I felt even more technologically challenged. Our children have no idea how far technology has come and how scary, as parents this day and age has become.
TV without a remote~oh the horror! My kids are constantly yelling “Where is the remote?” I had to pull up a picture of what TV’s looked like as my 9 yr old likes to say back in the day. They were hysterically laughing and couldn’t get over how small and fat the TV looked. And the fact that you actually had to go up to the TV and turn a dial blew them away.
Telephones with a cord. Thankfully they have seen this type of phone. We had one hanging in our kitchen as part as the decor…how sad! So then I showed them what cordless phones first looked liked when they were (my 9 yr old strikes again) “invented”, oh the belly laughs and rolling on the floor!
Atari There wasn’t an XBox or a Wii. It was like comic relief at my house. They could not get over the fact that we played these games that the objects resembled in comparison to today’s technology a square object. Then when they heard I actually never had an Atari….well forget it. Conversation was over.
Computers I tried to explain to them how we used to have Typing Class in high school. Once again, thanks to our technology, I was able to show them a picture of a typewriter. And yes….GASPS could be heard around the table!
The Internet Oh there was nothing more exciting than hearing the words You Got Mail! when you logged onto AOL. You are saying it and hearing that voice, aren’t you? So I showed them a clip from one of my favorite movies, You’ve Got Mail.
I was honest with my kids. I told them how lucky they are to live in this day and age with all the technology that is available to them. I told them for parents it is extremely scary. We are not as comfortable as they are and are learning from them. My kids have a very hard time understanding how there are things on the internet that are not appropriate for them. They have a hard time understanding why I set the restrictions on their iPads so high and that they not only need to ask permission but sit next to me and immediately hand their iPad back to me so I can turn the restrictions back on before they can play the new App they just downloaded.
I am, personally, extremely terrified of all the things they have access to. I am honest with them how I don’t know how certain things work and what the games they play are about. I am terrified at their innocence. They have a hard to understanding that a grown adult can pretend to be a child their age. This concept blew my 9 yr. old’s mind! She just kept asking why would they do that? I know I have no choice but to educate myself as well as stay up on the latest games and apps my kids play. I know my technologically challenged brain doesn’t quite grasp it. But it needs to be done.
I have restrictions set on all the technology in our home. I use the parental controls on our TV. We have a satellite TV provider so they can access, if I allowed, many channels. I block numerous shows and some are on networks for kids.
I have a restriction code on the iPads. My kids may have a screen lock password so their siblings don’t go onto their device (never happens) but I made up the code. They know that at any given time, I will (and have) asked to see their iPad/iPod and I go through their stuff. They know if I can’t unlock their screen, it’s gone. It’s gone for a long time. They can’t download, update, purchase, etc without my permission. I have it all turned off and I make them come to me and they sit right next to me. I look at the app and need to approve it. They know I will have the device in my hands until it is completely downloaded and then I will turn everything back off. Yes I have forgotten and yes someone who will remain nameless has been caught downloading without my permission. It was not a fun evening in our home when it occurred.
I have all their usernames and passwords for any games they play online. They message or text, it comes to my email. OK this may have you thinking that I am not technologically as challenged as I say I am. I truly am. I have been taught and told about this things by a family friend. I honestly don’t know what I would do without this person.
Being a technologically challenged person is frustrating but being one and a parent at the same time is down right frightening! It is my goal to educate myself as much as possible. I utilize our family friend as much as possible. I feel it is so sad that we have to be so cautious but we live in a whole new world. I am terrified of what is yet to come when our children are parents.