Thursday, May 15, 2014

Toddlers and technology

You’ve probably all seen the hilarious picture of the little three year old boy on the phone with his hand on his face in “face-palm” position…with a funny little quote that says something like, “No, Grandma. Listen, double click the Chrome icon…”

It’s funny…because it’s so true. Children today are introduced to technology the minute they are born. They grow up with it and if their parents and grandparents do not keep up, the next thing you know, you have a three year old giving you tech support.

Fortunately for my grandson, his “Meme” (that’s what he calls me) is not completely technology impaired. I possess a smart phone and a laptop computer and even a game console. Admittedly, I only play one actual video game…and primarily use the game console as a blu ray player…but I do have it. I am not a tech geek. I cannot do all sorts of cool tricks with my technology or upgrade my system and I can’t take my computer apart and rebuild it or anything like that…but I am, at the very least, reasonably “tech savvy”. I understand the basics. Just don’t ask me about The Cloud…because that still confuses me.

Anyway…my point is that my grandson will not have to explain to me what an icon is or tell me how to navigate that new-fangled gadget…or how to access, as my dad once called it, “That there internet thang”. He may have to help his great grandparents with these things, but not Meme. Although - it would not surprise me if ten years from now there is some new toy my grandson has to teach me how to use. At just under two years old, he has figured out how to get into his mother’s smart phone, find her contacts, and call people based on their picture. He recently called me at work via “Face Time” and proceeded to smile at me a lot and then hang up. It was one of the highlights of my day. Another highlight of the day was telling his mother that he did it because she had no idea.

He knows how to run his little thumb across the smart phone and scroll through pictures. He knows which ones are videos and how to make them play. He knows how to find games he can play. And he loves to just push buttons until he has made an utter mess of your phone and deleted contacts and changed settings to the point where YOU can barely use your phone. I generally keep my phone hidden when he’s visiting. It’s easier than telling him no…because dear lord, that adorable little face…

Anyway…recently, my daughter and grandson came over to the house to visit. As usual, I spent most of the evening trying to keep him entertained because he is inquisitive and wants to play with everything and touch everything. I try to keep things put away but he always finds something he should not have. He is obsessed with phones – which he calls “mones” – and computers and remotes. He wants to play with them all. Anything with a screen or buttons…he is drawn to it like a moth to a flame.

His parents recently bought the new X Box with voice control. Thus he went and stood in front of my television and commanded “Bock on”. (Box on) When my daughter explained this to me, I almost fell over laughing.

When he arrived on this particular evening, I hid my phone and turned off my laptop and closed it, in hopes that he would ignore it…no such luck. He got up on the couch and opened it and closed it a couple of times. Since it was turned off, it did not respond. He tapped a few keys, still no response. He opened and closed a couple more times…and then ran his tiny little finger over the mouse pad. I just shook my head in amazement…my mother does not even know how to get my laptop to turn on. Fortunately, he couldn’t find the power button so he never actually got it to turn on. Bored, he put it aside and went to find more things he could touch. At one point, he found my game system controller. I saw him pick it up…and he got that look on his face that makes you picture a little cartoon light bulb appearing over his little blonde head. He took it over to the couch, climbed up, pulled my laptop back into his lap, and opened it. He pointed the game controller at the laptop screen and commanded “bock on”. Needless to say, this did not work…but the fact that he put those things together, made me both crack up laughing and also marvel at his little thought process. “Holy crap,” I thought to myself, “my grandson is a genius.”

He may have also recently stuck his head between the bathtub and a bannister post and gotten stuck there, causing his mother to have to butter his head to get him out…but technologically speaking, he’s still a genius.