My father had one of those ugly two-tone 1970’s Smith-Corona typewriters. His was the mustard yellow and brown version in the big black case. It had a little switch in the corner that you’d turn on and then you’d hear that hum and know it was working. You’d tap the keys and with a thunk the letters would punch the paper with ink from the ribbon. You’d get to the end of the line, hit the bar and swipe it to the right and then start the next line. You could type a bunch of letters at once and they would all jam on top of each other. It was the coolest. When I started typing papers in school, every rough draft was my final draft because there was no real way to fix your mistakes without White-Out and perfect word skills to precisely fit the word you wanted in the space you made the mistake. I used that typewriter all the way into middle school. Even when we trained with the Apple 2 in school, even when my friends already had their own first Apple Macintosh, I was still using that ugly, yellow typewriter for school work. It wasn’t until high school that I eventually graduated to a word processor and later to my own computer in college. Call me a late bloomer I guess. So as I sit here today, on the day we went and got our 8 year old her first computer, I’m left with a couple of lasting impressions…
#1 Holy crap she’s lucky
#2 Her parents are great
#3 The times are changing
Yes miss second grade, miss pre-tween, miss sassy cat, now has a computer in the house. It’s not big, and fancy, and expensive. I like to think of it as a computer with training wheels because we will be watching her like hawks, but it is a real computer and not a toy. She’s been asking for it for months and the wife and I have discussed it extensively and today we went into Best Buy and couldn’t ignore it any longer. My wife and I both use computers, and smart phones, and an IPad. Let’s face it, the stuff is everywhere in society. The kids train on computers all the time in school. Alicia mastered the iPad and the iPhone before my wife and I ever did. She knows Apps and texts and documents. Sure she uses my wife’s I-phone to tend to the crops in a Smurf village game where she gets points for all the crops she grows, and yes, she is most excited that the computer can take funny and distorted pictures in the photo booth, but she is a wiz at technology. It seems like every kid is. It’s all that stuff I can’t control on the other side of that digital door that I worry about. We’ve already told Alicia “no” to Facebook and “no” to email. We’ve already told her “no” to online chats. Just because she has a computer, there’s still time for her to grow up for a while. In the meantime, we’ll do our best to regulate her computer time, to take away her privileges when we need to, and to foster her love of computers when appropriate.
No question, the pandora’s box is now open and there is no turning back
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