My husband Marcus, God bless him, is a complete and utter tech-head — but then, as a software architect, this isn’t all that surprising. He has smartphones and tablets and laptops. He wires the entire house (most particularly, our television and stereo system) through one of his computers. Whenever we go on a trip — even one that isn’t work-related, mind you — an entire piece of carry-on luggage is usually dedicated to just wires.
He is a man possessed.
To be honest, of course, I can’t judge. I’m admittedly more tech-minded than most. While I don’t have my husband’s coding prowess, I do make my living online with my site and my blog, and I know just enough HTML to make me alarmingly dangerous. Also, I’m a photographer, so in additional to several digital cameras, I use a couple of different types of software to process my images. And don’t even start me on my iPhone, which helps me stay close to my email when I’m on the road, manages my calendar, and even acts as a throw-down, back-up camera in a pinch.
In other words (and to say the very least), my husband and I appreciate our technology very, very much. Besides the fact that neither of us would have jobs without it, technology makes our lives very, very easy, and not a week goes by that I wonder how I used to live my life — in my early twenties, say — without it.
Given all of this, you might think that our daughter Alex must be equally technologically savvy, but the truth is that she isn’t. Despite our submersion in tech, when it comes to our daughter, Marcus and I are a little gun-shy. She has a Nintendo DS that she saved up for and bought herself (when I finally acquiesced), but I made sure that she bought an older, cheaper version that is unable to connect to the internet. Our family doesn’t watch much television (it’s used almost exclusively to watch family movies we download; we only actually watch television programming on PBS when my daughter is home sick), so Alex is on a pretty strict media diet. She has an old CD player in her bedroom (one I bought to play soft music for her nursery when she was born), but no other electronics. Other than the odd time when an iPhone with a quiet game on it is thrust into her wriggly hands (while in a doctor’s waiting room, say for example), she’s had very little exposure to technology.
And Marcus and I are starting to feel a bit of guilt around this.
It’s so hard, isn’t it? She’s 7-1/2 years old, and the issues around online safety scare the bejeezus out of us. On one hand, we feel like she’s got a lifetime before she needs to worry about getting online or on a computer; on the other, we can’t keep her sheltered forever, and there are certain skills — like typing, for example, or learning to do scholastic research — that are probably best learned sooner rather than later, I think.
In any event, Marcus and I have decided to start introducing computer technology in a more formal, structured way to our daughter. With luck, she’ll understand what a tool the computer is, and will appreciate it as a way to learn and connect with family and friends, in a way that outpaces how much she likes playing games on the thing. Fingers crossed, anyway.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
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