While reading about the Role of Parents in Selfe’s book, I was struck by a quoted comment made by editor-in-chief, Ron Kobler. He headed the magazine Computing for Kids. He said, “No matter what you personally know about computers, you need to educate your children about digital technology.” This seems like a no-brainer to our generation. However, I look back to when this comment was quoted.
In 1997, I was three years old and I lived with my mom and her parents. There was this push for home computers, but they made it seem like a gallant attempt to keep today’s children “in-the-loop”, because technology would take the world by storm and their children would need the no-how to function in the future’s work industries. So, when I read this comment, I sat my iPad down and called my grandpa, who happened to buy the first home computer I ever touched. I asked his reasoning for the purchase. His response, as I suspected, was along the lines of, “I just wanted one.” I find it interesting how marketing strategists pushed so hard on the education angle when people who had kids in their household were more focused on the fact that is was new and shiny.
My mom, who possessed both the role of parent and educator, found ways to utilize the PC as I grew older. Once I hit middle school, she found computer games that were educational as well as fun. I would play them occasionally, but only when I found myself at a loss on what to do during my free time. However, the computer played no vital role in the state of my education. My mom and grandparents taught me how to read, write, and function appropriately in the world. I can tell you that I heard, “Go outside and play,” more than I ever heard, “Play some games on the computer.”
Selfe addresses how parents are the stimulus for technological know-how in the home, but I never really received much technological training at home. And I was a kid when this technology movement started full-force. Either advertisements were crappy around my neck of the woods or my mom was more concerned with me being a kid. The latter is something I like to consider all the time. Should we consider technology to strictly be an adult privilege? Does technology take away from a child’s time of “being a kid”? I see kids who are about eight years old nowadays, who sit around while nose-deep in a tablet or a phone 24/7. It scares me. I better start planning how I wish to raise my kids, because they aren’t going to be like that.