Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Today's Technologies

I'm finding it challenging to keep up with kids in the technology department. When I was a child, the best technology we had was a TV set..and there was little tv to be watched during the day. Other than that, there was not a single piece of technological recreation to be had. I don't know what they're talking about when they tell me about their hand-held computer gadgets, so Heaven help them if they run into some sort of problem. I'm not privy to 'Webkins' and how they work. I can set a VCR to record, but for some reason, the DVD doesn't respond to my command to do the same. I do not know what an Ipod is or how to download music to a....whatchamacallit, oh yes...an MP3 player. I just bought my first real cell phone, to replace the old pay-as-you-go walkie-talkie phone that we had when my husband travelled so much. Sadly, I must tell you that my 9 year old and 12 year old granddaughters had to help me with my choices when I purchased it. I didn't have a clue. All I knew was that I wanted it to make and receive phone calls....no texting was necessary, no camera please, no music, no videos, no music, nor the rest of the fancy, confusing gadgetry. When I got it home, the pre-teen had to instruct me on how to set up my contacts and ring tones and how to retrieve my messages. Sigh....

A little more than a decade ago, I bought my first computer. Now, I'm glad I did, but up until that time, I was afraid of it. I feared I'd mess it up in my ignorance, and it would never be right again. However, my excuse was...'machines already put too many people out of work, I won't be a party to it by buying one of those things.' Little did I realize how many people have jobs because of computers! Anyway...I learned to use it, and learned to love it too. I don't know how I'd get along without it now. Such is the way of technology, I suppose. At first we are cautious of the 'new', but once it becomes familiar, we can not do without it.

I must be really showing my age, but life was so simple when I was growing up. We might have had a moment here or there when we were bored, but not often. There were friends, and physical activities. There was the beach to go to, and guess what? We walked or rode our bicycles the three miles or so to get to it from our house! There were bbq's on Sunday evenings, with the family...aunts and cousins all around. We kids didn't need to sit still and listen to every word the adults were saying...we played together away from the grown ups. We didn't know the details of crime, or the latest happenings in Washington or even what was happening to the family next door. If those things were discussed, they were adult conversations and we were not privy to them. In many ways we were protected and kept innocent, and I'm quite in favor of it.

Today life moves fast and children grow up at lightening speed. With access to the entire world at their fingertips from pre-school age, they hear everything and they learn about adult life far too quickly, in my opinion. There's no way around it, though, I'm afraid. We've gone too far to keep them from hearing all the news reports and the local gossip. Our children are intelligent and aware of all that goes on in this world, and the days of innocence and being protected from the evils are gone.

I far prefer the days when I was a child...those 'good old days' when I could play and breathe fresh air and think no further than what time Mom told me to be home for dinner. I did not concern myself with serial killers and wars across the world, and it was a much nicer way of life, I think. I had my transistor radio with the AM station, and I was happy. Today's kids really seem to 'know it all', and I feel somewhat lost as an elder in this world of endless technology. I'm too far behind, and can't imagine that I'll ever catch up. I'm even prone to calling myself 'old-fashioned' now, rather than the 'open-minded' term I used to pin on myself. I am, however, one step or two up from my husband, who doesn't want to know about a computer or a cell phone. He's still prefers a manual typewriter and a dial phone! Does anyone even know what that is today?

Time does march on, it's true, and even if we're lost in it, we're dragged along with it. We'll learn what we must, even if it takes a 12 year old to teach us.