Kids & Technology

I was listening to The Fish this morning, and they were having parents call in about how technology is ruining their family time and what they do about it.  You can imagine some of the comments:  kids text the whole ride home and never say a word to them, kids spend all their time in their rooms gaming, etc.  This really got my brain going.  Most people think I’m a lot older than I really am therefore put me in Generation X.  However, I am not an “X’er.”  I’m a “Y’er,” also known as The Millennials, Generation Next, Net Generation, and Echo Boomers.  Although I was born more towards the beginning of this generation, I can totally identify with everything people are saying about us.  What are they saying?  There a lot to say about us, but we are most known for our familiarity with and affinity for digital technologies, communications, and media.

I haven’t had technology my entire life like someone who is 10 years younger than me, but I’ve been around it for the majority of my life.  I remember when I was very young, probably first or second grade, the first time I ever used a computer.  We had “computer day” where we would all go to the computer lab and _____ <— fill in the blank.  You know what it is!  I’ll give you one more guess…ok, give up?  We played Oregon Trail!!!  You know you remember that LOL.  Anyhoo, this was my first real-live computer experience.  Although I had never used a computer before, somehow I knew exactly what to do!  At this particular time I was attending a very small school is Aiken, SC.  Whatever grade I was in, they had this program where we would all take a small computer home for a weekend.  Now, this was somewhere between 1988 & 1990, so you know this computer was soooooo not awesome lol.  However, it was surprisingly small for that time.  It probably had about a 10″ monitor, keyboard, mouse, and a CPU that was about the size of a large dictionary.  I’m sure you also realize that all this PC was good for was it’s games!  Anyway, so I had that computer for the weekend, and just like in the computer lab, somehow I knew what the icons were, how to load up the games, etc.  I don’t know how I knew, but I knew.  Anyway, pretty much after that computers were always a part of my life school life.  Then there was that wonderful Christmas day in seventh grade:  we got our first home computer!!  It was a HUGE all-in-one Macintosh Performa 550, and it cost about $1500–that was a deal!!  That’s all she wrote right there.  My appetite for technology increased exponentially!  Within three years we had the Internet–now THAT was all she wrote lol.

I have always had either Walkman or CD player.  When we got our first answering machine, I knew how to work it right away.  I remember in 10th grade when the iPod came out.  I knew what is was for, how it worked, and I wanted one–but not for $800!  I was into all the new do-dads that came out.  I even was influenced by my mom to major in Computer Science when I went to college.  She thought I was gifted or talented in that area, but we didn’t know that most people my age and younger were all doing the same things and more.  No wonder I’m going to school for something else now!  That wasn’t “passion” she saw–although I do highly enjoy all things technology–it was just who I was…and all my peers.  In the present day, there’s more technology in my life than ever before!  I have several desktops, two laptops, a smart phone (which is a world on it’s own), and an iPod Touch (like the phone, it’s own world).  Between the laptop, the phone, and the iPod, I am always always “plugged in.”  Facebook, this blog, texting, and the Internet in general are my life!  Why do I tell you this?  I say this because my life is consumed with technology just like those parents were complaining about their kids.  That means I’ll be a technology consumed parent raising kids who will probably be even more consumed than I am!  Should I be concerned?  How will I encourage social interaction, reading, outdoors, the arts, and all things “non-techy” when my life lacks those things too?  Maybe some major shift will happen in my life when I have kids LOL.  But seriously though…there are certain things that I totally agree with that would seem to be “anti-technology.”  Kids shouldn’t have computers and game consoles in their bedrooms as I explained few posts ago.  Kids shouldn’t spend much time during the week gaming.  That’s weekend activity.  A child’s “job” is to go to school and get good grades.  They should spend the week doing just that:  preparing to get good grades.  And geez, as busy as kids are these days with all the extracurricular stuff they have going on, how do they even have time for that kind of foolishness?  Who knows.  Either way, I supposed it will be very interesting how the children who come from my generation will turn out!

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