Tag Archives: digital native

Modern childhood milestones – mobile phones

This week we gave our daughter her first mobile phone. It’s as natural as first steps, or losing a first tooth, but I feel a bit sad about hitting this technological milestone.

Finally, we can all sit together as a family in the same room and chat silently with people who are not in the room. Cool.

A quick audit of main computing/electronic devices in our family of four people looks like this:

  • 1 x desktop
  • 2 x laptops
  • 2 x tablets
  • 4 x personal mobile phones
  • 2 x work mobile phones.

This is probably fairly standard these days for privileged middle-class urban types like us. (I haven’t bothered to add Kindles, digital radios and other paraphernalia.)

Mobile phones at school

I’ve lectured my kids for years about (what I consider to be) the proper use of technology and the internet. E.g. “It’s all designed to be hugely addictive and your soft fresh young brains are no match for the shiny shiny digital temptation.” Or else: “Our bodies are NOT designed to be hunched over phones. ‘Text neck’ is a real thing!”

 [ Aside: A typical adult human head weighs 10 to 12 pounds. As the head tilts forward, the strain on your neck increases. At 15 degrees of forward tilt, this may equate to a head weighing 27 pounds. At 30 degrees forward, the strain on the neck equals a 40 pound head. https://www.spineuniverse.com/wellness/ergonomics/your-cell-phone-killing-your-back ]

It will be interesting to see how my kids will learn to deal with technology at school, as they aren’t allowed to use them during the school day.

My initial feeling is relief. No worries about theft, losing phones, cyber-bullying, cheating in tests etc. And school can be one safe place where there is respite from the unfair fight against evil purveyors of tech addiction …

However, my young digital natives need to learn to manage technology and devices appropriately. Especially when I’m not around with my passionate parental hassling.

Phone-less in transit

Right now, my dad is flying over to visit us from Australia. He forgot to bring his phone, so our immediate response was “How will we find him at the airport?!” Hmmmm; how did we used to do this before phones? Then my brother sent me a message: “Dad just called me from someone’s phone, he said to meet him at the hire car spot.” Just like the old days.

text conversation

This is what passes for conversation in our family.

 

Here’s one I wrote earlier

The invasion of the attention-snatchers. Using technology mindfully.  Does that sound like a phrase created by rich young white men in grey organic bamboo t-shirts? Turns out that I‘ve actually been doing it for years…  I wasn’t trying to be mindful, I just don’t like technology telling me what to do.

The Dark Side of digital time wasting. Lost : one incomplete Death Star. I have lost my Tiny Death Star. I’ve been working hard on adding levels for Emperor Palpatine since December, and tonight my 75% complete moon-sized battle station disappeared off my phone.

Why Facebook is not my friend

I’ve un-friended Facebook.

I’ve haven’t been popping in to FB’s corporate blue cyber-lounge very much recently. FB was dropping down to the bottom of my To Do list. It was above “Pick up next-door cat’s poo in my garden” but below “Find lost sink plunger”. [We have sub-standard plumbing in this house.]

I decided that in 2013 I would *leave* Facebook. I’m not closing my account, but I’m just not actively checking it or updating it. It’s a bit of a relief actually.

Good things about leaving Facebook

  • I don’t have a constant parallel “I-must-remember-that-funny-thing-so-I-can-post-it-on-Facebook” soundtrack in my mind. I just laugh at it, and move on.
  • I am no longer jealous of distant colleagues’ luxurious holidays .
  • Calibrating a suite of ever-changing FB privacy settings? Ha! I laugh at your privacy settings.
  • I don’t need to comment on anyone’s pictures of their kids. Of course I think my friends’ children are funny, smart, adorable, stylish etc. I just don’t need to prove it.
  • I haven’t had to ‘friend’ either the generation above (parents, uncles, aunts) or below me (nieces etc). I have avoided breaching inter-generational FB sharing etiquette.
  • I have rung, and Skyped and emailed and met with and written to my Real Life Actual Friends. It has been lovely.

Bad things about leaving Facebook

[After a long pause… ]

  • I will not know what you ate at your wedding anniversary dinner.
  • I will not know that you liked the page for “Katie’s Bespoke Ceramic Yoghurt Cooler Pods”.
  • I will not know that you got divorced, deported, promoted, pregnant, married or mauled by a rare mammal on your charity fun run.

Life after Facebook

I read that Facebook is the email of the digital natives. Ubiquitous, functional and essential. I hope that’s wrong, as I’m going to live without it.

This was my first post on Facebook – 3 July 2007:

[From me to friend] Now I’m a zombie chump thanks to you.

This was my last post on Facebook – 9 December 2012:

2013 new year resolution SPOILER: Only 23 more sleeps until I leave* Facebook.

*I’m not even going to pretend to check/update very often. Just can’t be arsed.

There are plenty of other ways we can connect: twitter, linkedin, flickr, pinterest, my blog, your blog, email, skype, landline, mobile, post, or meet me for a coffee?

(But not google+… I suspect that I will be on that even less than FB.)

Here’s one I wrote earlier

We are all alone together. Looking down the hill, the lights of the party twinkled and crinkled through the trees. The wafts of voices floated up past me in the dark. I could see my friends arranging and rearranging themselves in to little clumps of conversation and mid-priced wine.

I am, like, so not popular. I am not a very popular person. I only have:

  • 90 Facebook friends (although if I friended my mum and all my uncles, aunts, cousins and their spouses I’d probably double that). [Update: As at 7 April 2011, I have 100 FB friends.]

A life less digital

    I am a digital immigrant. When I started my career, we would always put a hyphen in e-mail. I threw myself happily in to e-anything. Now, my children are digital natives, but I want them to remember the old country. We can participate online, embrace technology, and still appreciate life offline.