My Son - The Digital Native
Thursday, August 26 2010 @ 01:11 PM EDT
Contributed by: Admin
The present generation of children in America faces unique challenges. They will be continuously dealing with myriad issues that confront tomorrow's aspiring leaders. Collectively referred to as Generation Z, and commonly called Generation I (for internet being always present in their lives),today's child is a digital native and a vast amount of their frame of reference seems to be digital in nature. As today's children are, typically, born of Generation X parents, my own child is no exception.
Among his generation, my son is probably something more closely akin to the digital illuminati of sorts. Certainly, being born in the age of the internet helped, but high-tech has always been his reality. When he was only several months of age I watched him remove a CD from a jewel box and place it into a player drawer he had opened, close it and push play, I think it was then I glimpsed into what his future might hold.
As a toddler, my son was always very inquisitive. Thanks to the kindness of doting relatives, his play area almost always had really cool, electronic toys. Our tiny apartment's living room offered all varieties of electronic stimulation in the form of a stereo system, musical instruments, PC workstation (complete with interactive software) and video equipment always within reach. Mom and Dad were slightly different themselves, both more inclined towards the digital age, as they worked in the production of live radio and television, as well as professional video production for the entirety of his childhood. Yes, he loved his bicycle, but things that made sounds or illuminated really tickled him.
The virtual world is very real to those millions, like him, who have never known a life without internet. Perhaps history will regard his generation as the earliest pioneers of what will be a virtual planetary desktop, complete with sexy, artificial intelligence, optically implanted heads-up displays and fully writable memories, of course, allowing for telecommuting or, maybe even teleporting! However, in my humble opinion, the present generation could really use to spend more time offline and go outdoors and enjoy life's activities there! Because of my necessary level of online involvement, my own actions, unfortunately, don't set a good example for that sort of behavior, despite my exercise routine on personal time!
The numerous years of having to spend long hours in various production studios with his parents have, likely, taken the largest toll on him. Sure, we brought the Power Ranger toys with us, but Mom and Dad made moving pictures, graphics, sound, and had all kinds of gadgetry! My son has always been very creative and artistic. When he was younger, I used every chance to foster his love for drawing by sharing my own. I guess I didn't think of the possible future ramifications.
These days, my son is a teenager in high school, has an internship at a local PC repair shop, iPhones, Macs and PCs, wireless headsets, SKYPE and online social media accounts that I probably don't know. He can design, script, build, animate, moderate, troubleshoot, BLOG and recompile without needing any help from me. The only online assistance from me he does require is the infrequent use of my credit card, as he doesn't have one of those yet. ( I'm sure it won't be long. )
Don't get me wrong, I trust my son. I guess I just have a hard time relating to what seems to be an excess of recreational time online. Yes, I work online and enjoy being there, yet it's far from being all I do or am. Similarly, he supports me, but prefers to hang out with friends or embark on any of a thousand other projects before finishing one for Dad. If the present trend continues, I may be forced to increase his allowance. HTML Coding or mopping, they're all just chores that have to be done!
It's probably every parent's destiny to feel misunderstood by their own children. I know that I am no exception. I am incapable of spending the sheer number of waking hours online as my son. It is his realm. I support his quest to rule the free world, but know that I'll only function in an advisory capacity in the New World Order. I'm cool with that. Having only rudimentary PS3 gaming abilities and an old school (Tetris, Frogger, Missle Command were always my favs) mentality, I realize I just 'can't hang' in Call Of Duty 4 or Soldier Front, as his patience with 'noobs' is short. Whatever, at least I try!
As to the present day, I'll continue to love and, hopefully, inspire him to new heights in room cleanliness, organization, time management and various other annoyances like remembering to do his chores. I know he found his digital sense of direction long ago. I suppose I need to come to terms with my guilt in that whole thing.
-Happy End of Summer !