So, last week, I gave in and got a new iPhone. Or rather, my daughter got one, since I haven’t seen it since those initial hours I spent setting it up. After one week, this four-year-old has become as skilled at using it as I am, or maybe more skilled, since she has no fear of screwing up any of the settings I carefully put in place. She just clicks around freely until it does something interesting. I downloaded a few games for her, and within minutes she’d mastered all of those, so then she started playing solitaire, poker, and some of the other less kid-friendly games I have on it. She doesn’t really understand the point of the games, but she knows which moves make which sounds (and, somehow, how to turn the sound back on when I’ve turned it off). This seems endlessly entertaining to her.
I remember, as a child, when we got our first computer (my step-dad worked for IBM at the time, so we were one of the first people I knew with one), our first game system (Atari), our first microwave, and my parents sounding ridiculously old-fashioned as they talked about what a different age it was, where kids were growing up with these modern technological conveniences that still slightly scared their parents. Well, now I see what they meant by that. I also see that our technological advances were nothing compared to what all of our kids are growing up with today.
I have a vivid recollection of my mother calling me, while I was away at college, to walk her through setting up the VCR to tape something for her. I remember my roommate and friends in the background laughing as I walked her through the steps from five hundred miles away. It seemed hilarious at the time, that my mother couldn’t operate something as simple as a VCR. But now I can see a time when I’ll be calling my daughter, maybe still in elementary school, to ask for her help in figuring out how to use the latest tech gadget.