Monday, May 19, 2014

If you want to feel dumb about technology, live with a third-grader

I am not a technophobe. I have my share of gadgets and love learning how to use new stuff. I work for a technology company and make my living building websites for clients. I know more than I want to know about DNS and HTML and whatnot. However, there is just no way I can keep up with a third grader when it comes to technology.  Now that she has an iPad, it's gotten even harder. She downloads apps at the speed of light and I have to try to keep track of who is contacting my baby when she plays games like Minecraft.  After she goes to bed, I check her iPad and delete Game Center friend requests and anything else that looks suspicious.

Because she is on an Apple device and my phone is an Android device, we struggled a bit to find a mechanism that would allow us to communicate with each other.  We tried a couple of apps and eventually stumbled into Google Hangouts. We don't use it very often. If I'm out of town or something like that, we'll sometimes exchange a few text messages.  She's been known to text me from the next room. Once, she gave me some feedback on my parenting skills while we were both in the kitchen.

I traveled out of town last Friday night. I was visiting my friend Kathy.  We both needed to sign some tax paperwork for the rescue and have it notarized.  So, we took care of that over some Grey Goose at a bar. Then I stayed overnight at her house.  Anyway, while we were still out I send the kid a text message via our Google Hangout.  The next thing I knew, a message comes up on my phone telling me that I had an incoming video call from the kid. I am just going to be honest here: I had been unaware this was an option on my phone. I'm familiar with Skype but didn't realize that we could chat via video within our Google Hangout.  I accepted the call, and there she was.  "Hi Mama! What are you doing?"

If you can just keep in mind that in my lifetime I have owned vinyl records and cassette tapes, and that I know what it is like to have to search for a payphone (when I needed to call my mom to have her pick me up from the roller rink).  I know what it is like to try to find my way via a paper map. I learned to type on an actual typewriter.  So you can see why it takes me a second or two to process all of the stuff that is now at my fingertips.

Parenting is hard enough without technology, I think.  I don't know how I feel about the fact that she can talk back in so many different ways. When I was her age, I had to be rude to my mother in person, dontcha know.

Here are a few sample exchanges. Perhaps you have some theories on why she sent me an animated pile of poo.

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