When it comes to technology I was something of a late bloomer. When I was doing my A-Levels, I had such a dislike for computers that I somehow persuaded my teacher to do the computer based part of my Biology coursework for me. When I arrived at University in 1999, pretty much everyone had a computer and a mobile phone. I had a word processor and a BT Charge Card!
I was also refusing to make the transition to CD player, clinging to my trusty cassettes (many of which I had recorded myself whilst listening to the charts).
I have no idea why I was so technologically reticent. Perhaps my love of all things retro was getting a bit out of hand? Perhaps I lacked confidence in my technical abilities?
I soon came to realise that if you wanted to maintain any semblance of a love life, a mobile was kind of essential. It may have looked like a brick and only had one game (Snake) but at least I could add Predictive Texting to my repertoire of skills (after my very patient friend taught me how).
The word processor ran its course soon afterwards and I had to finally give up on tapes when they stopped selling them!
Although my computer skills have caught up and I have a smart phone, I am now behind on Sat Nav choosing the old fashioned way – an actual map. Overall we are still quite low tech as a household. We have one TV and no Sky. We thought we were very modern when we recently got a Google Chromecast, probably about a year after everybody else did.
My boys, however, are very much of this generation. By that I mean the generation that exit the womb being able to swipe a touch screen. I frequently walk into the living room to find all 3 of my Bears perfectly lined up, eyes fixed onto some sort of tablet device each. I speak to them, try to find out the answer to some important question or other, pass the time of day. If I’m lucky someone might grunt in response but God forbid they would look up. I can usually be found backing out of the room again, chunnering to myself about bloody technology and the lost art of conversation and children ending up with square eyes.
As much as I dislike it, I do kind of get the appeal for the boys, especially for Little Bear. We have placed a heavy emphasis on listening and the Ipad provides his struggling language system with a welcome break. He can fully interact with the device without any language at all and the visual nature of the tasks means he instinctively knows what to do. And he can excel at it. He may be experiencing Developmental Delay but his Ipad skills are bob on.
But still… I do yearn for a childhood for the boys more like my own, without the addictive temptation of technology, in which things like Magic Painting held more appeal. In which you didn’t need your own phone at 9 years of age and have to be concerned about your image on as well as off line.
So, isn’t it ironic (don’t you think?) that my new favourite hobby is so tech that it would not even exist outside of the digital age?
Blogging: a whole new media, existing virtually but very real – a fantastic way for frustrated authors like me to get my words out there. In the times pre-internet, my wafflings wouldn’t have got further than my notebook. So I do have technology to thank for that.
I am still a little baffled by it though: the widgets and add-ons and linkies and Search Engine Optimisation.. It’s like another language, one which I speak hesitantly and probably with a very bad accent. Onwards and upwards though, at least I’m not typing this on a word processor!
In other exciting news, I have just got a new car. It’s a petrol/ electric hybrid that I plug in! How new-fangled is that?! And it has a built-in Sat Nav…
So, technophobe or techno-forward? I can’t quite make up my mind.