Are you the type of parent that handles all of the electronics in the household, or do you get your little minions to do it for you? Are you comfortable setting up a big screen in the house, or do you need to have a little assistant there guiding you along the way? When it comes to technology, I’m pretty comfortable handling any challenge that comes my direction. But that is not true in all families. Here is a word of advice, if your kids show any skill, interest or promise at working with or understanding consumer electronics, encourage them to do it. Conversely, if they don’t, don’t force them.
The same could be said about any activity or interest that your children have. As a parent, you are there to nurture and provide opportunities. And I speak from experience here. When I was a kid, I was first introduced to the personal computer (and IBM PC that had no hard drive just two floppy drives and a green monochrome display). It was my dad’s computer, given to him by the Stanford History department at the time. But part of the receipt of the computer was having to take a 1 week course on how to use it.
Off my dad went to the course and the first night, I reviewed all of the manuals and documentation when he wasn’t on the computer. Within a few hours, I had pretty much figured it all out while my dad was still working away on his courses. The rest is history…which is actually sort of funny and proves the point that I’m trying to make here.
My dad is a History Professor as Stanford…and guess what my worst subject in high school and college was? Yep, that’s right! History. So I went a completely different route – directly into the world of tech (although I was an English major in college). He never forced me to make a career around history. Quite the contrary, he allowed me to push the technology envelop. And the funny thing is, to this day, my father stays as far away from technology as possible, and, obviously I’m his tech support.
So, at my home, I manage the tech…but I do give my kids a bit of essential “training.” They know how to turn on the TV and fire up the Xbox or reconnect their Roku to the wireless network. They are better at it than my wife actually. I don’t necessarily want them to follow in my footsteps, but I do want them to not be afraid of technology, because they will, most likely, be using it throughout their lives. I’m just waiting for the day when they know more about it than I do.
Until they do, I still have a “job” within my family handling the tech, but I have a feeling that they will be retiring me in a few years, or at least circumventing the technology fabric I have carefully woven at home!