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Generational Technology Firsts

My parents are adorable, all five of them. Add in my grandparents and I’ve got the makings of a really good commercial. You see, the generations above me, who range in age from 55-93 are trying so hard to figure out all this technology that surrounds them every day. While I have been on a computer nearly every day of my life (who remembers floppy disks?), it’s all fairly new to my parents and grandparents, and oh, they’re trying.

I once tried to Skype with my 85-year-old grandma, but she figured it was like a phone, only the person in front of the screen could talk so she kept relaying messages through my mom even though I could hear everything she said. We Skype with my parents weekly, and my favorite moments are when they don’t realize the camera is actually on and they’re both clucking and bickering over which button to push “Maybe it’s that one over there? I can hear them, can you hear us? HELLO?” Addie can’t quite appreciate the humor in it since she’s been around computers and all this advanced technology since she was old enough to sit up. Someday she’ll be able to laugh at Cody and me when we can’t figure out our hologram beams in 40 years.

My dad has always had the best of the best when it comes to technology, however he has no idea what the best of the best is even capable of. I can still remember when he sat me down for the first time and forced me to watch at DVD. “LOOK HOW CLEAR IT IS! AND I CAN SKIP SCENES LIKE A CD! WATCH THIS PART AGAIN!” Oh, Daddy. He currently has a top of the line computer, tablet and smartphone yet he has no idea how to connect all three, as far as he’s concerned it’s an easier, prettier way to play online poker and Yahtzee.

My mom just retired from 28 years as a computer programmer, I still have no idea what she did for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for 28 years of my life. I hear ‘computer programmer’ and think she would know more about computers than anyone else her age. Oddly enough, this was not the case. She could write programs for days, whatever that means, but when it comes to basic computer knowledge? She and my 8-year-old are pretty even. She’s still not hip to the smartphone and I’ll be curious to see what she gets into in her retirement.

What about my grandparents? Well, last time I talked to my grandma she said “Sorry I haven’t looked at your journal [blog], that computer your mom got us — we haven’t even opened it since she left. It’s all too confusing.” It’s okay Grandma, some days it’s too confusing for me too.

I can still remember the first time I heard about electronic mail (WHOA!) the first computer game I played (Carmen San Diego!) the first website I ever visited (levis.com!) and the first time I ever used a cell phone (big old gray brick!) My kids are never going to remember any of those firsts seeing as they’ve experienced them all before their first birthday, but they’ll each have firsts of their own and who knows how crazy those firsts will be. (I for one can still remember Addie’s first ride in a hybrid car, her first time using a tablet and her first time seeing herself on YouTube.)

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A big thanks to Energizer for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

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