Thursday, February 3, 2011

Talkin' 'bout My Generation

Dear Delilah,

If I'm relying on Wikipedia, and I usually don't, you were born at the tail end of "Generation Z". A big part of that is in reference to the advancement of technology that you were born into and the level of "connection" people of your generation will experience. Your generation will be shaped by the political and world events that happen throughout your childhood and adolescence, the way that your father and I (born at the tail end of "Generation X") were shaped by events such as the shooting of President Reagan, Bill Clinton playing the Saxophone on Arsenio Hall, and the wild-fire like spread of the internet.

In one of my classes the other day, we had a brief discussion on how the current availability of and reliance on technology will impact the learning and education of 'kids these days'. When I was growing up, there was not a computer in every class room, much less in every home. I remember playing Oregon Trail on the gigantic computers in my middle school's computer lab and saving files to a floppy disk when "floppy" literally meant, well, floppy. If there was such a thing as lap-tops like the one I'm writing this on right now, they must have only belonged to the government or the extremely rich, because I don't remember seeing them!

I remember when your Grandpa Rudy was on the cutting edge of technology, having had a car phone installed in his truck. This was not like the highly portable cell phones that are the norm today, it was tethered to the vehicle!

You are growing up in a time when nearly every household has at least one computer, and nearly every American over the age of 16 (and many under the age of 16) has a cell phone. When I was a kid, playing outside with the neighborhood kids, moms and dads whistled, rang bells, and shouted to signal their children that it was time to come home. Today, parents text their kids instead.

While I try to avoid over-exposing you to technology and media, it's obvious that you're already picking up on the integral role that it plays in our lives:

You look eerily natural plunking away on the keyboard and tapping the touchpad with ease. My favorite is the way you adjust the screen. While this video is cute, it's also a little bit scary to me. The instant availability of entertainment and information is a double edged sword. I don't want you to miss out on the experience of having an afternoon of fun picking dandelions and making bouquets and crowns out of them. I don't want you think books irrelevant, or for critical thinking to be an antiquated skill that is lost on you. I must be mindful of the role that technology and media play in my own life, and remember that you will learn what you see.

I look forward to the warmer days ahead, so that I can see you mimic me planting seeds and pulling weeds, rather than mimic me putzing around on the internet. On that note, I had best wrap this up and join you on the floor for our own little drum circle, before you tire of your drum and wander over to see what mama's staring at on that shiny screen now.



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  1. Not only is a child that young using a laptop scary in the ways you mentioned... her soft little head shouldn't be anywhere near a machine outputting that amount of electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) and WiFi radiation for any considerable length of time.

    Same goes for kids with cell phones. There's a big uproar going on right now where I live about the affect of WiFi in schools on children.

  2. I have a picture of Piggles reaching for my computer from my lap, as well. I'm a way, I'm sad she won't have the low-tech/high imaginative childhood I had, but I also can't wait to see what kind of opportunities she'll have as technology advances.

  3. My favorite posts are when you write to Delilah. Love it!
    I left you a little award on my blog today...
    Just wanted to send you some blog love because your letters always make me smile.

  4. Great post! Chunky Mama sent me your way. I recently also posted on my feelings about my kids and technology. Definitely something to worry about. I am thrilled to start following your blog. I see a lot of great stuff on here!!


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