Kids and technology


I remember growing up and being fascinated with technology. Anything “electronic” was cool, fascinating and worth of worship in my adolescent mind.

I’ve said it before here that I was introduced to technology at a young age. We got our first computer in the late 1970s and it mushroomed from there.

Fortunately, my father was cut from the same cloth (or maybe the other way around) so I never had to worry about my parents being “technophobes”.

I loved it.

Timex Sinclair, Atari, Commodore 64, Radio Shack, and Coleco Vision were all icons of my youth.

Today, the fascination is still there, but not for the “electronic” part of things, but it’s more utilitarian. Simple, plain and easy to understand. Kids today view electronics as tool. Cool they might be, they are tools to them. Tools to socialize. Tools to communicate. Tools for work.

My kids are perfect examples.

They have had my old iPhone castoffs for years now, and over the holiday we bought both kids an iPad mini.

They use them for games, email, Skyping their friends, YouTube and generally isolating themselves from the “natural” world at large.

The oldest has been going to virtual school for years now, so he is intimately familiar with technology.

But some time ago, he asked for his own laptop.

It didn’t start out that, way. Initially he wanted his own full-sized iPad.

So Mrs. Technocrat and I made a deal with him. He could earn it.

If he read 50 books (and real books, not “kiddy” books) we would contribute $500 to an iPad. He had to save the rest.

This was quite a while back. He moved in fits and starts and didn’t really seem committed to it.

About a year ago, he changed his tune. He wanted his own laptop.

Not just for games, but to start learning programming languages, more email….and maybe even creative writing.

Mrs. Technocrat and I determined he was mature enough for this, so we let him change the terms of the agreement to a laptop.

At this point, the kid dug in like like a tick on a bloodhound. It was fun to watch.

He blew through the 50 books in no time. Wasn’t hard for a kid who loves to read when he has books he likes.

The rest of the money was a different story. That took some real effort on his part.

For the one he wanted (a refurbished Apple MacBook Air) he needed an extra $350 to $400. Not a small task for a 13 year old.

So it was extra chores, jobs for the grandparents, asking for cash for birthday and etc.

Well, the kid finished it up this past week. He did it.

He and I sat down together yesterday and ordered HIS very first computer. Not a shared family computer. His.

I couldn’t be more proud of him.

We’ve set ground rules, and Dad is going to help him understand how to take care of it. From virus software to backups, to “appropriate” places on the internet. He lives in a techno-centric world these days, and it’s time he learns how to survive in it. I see far too many adults without the basic computer skills that today demands.

So, here’s to you C. Good job! I hope you enjoy the laptop and take care of it.

You’ve earned it!

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