September 27, 2008

Sharing the Love

Image: Belinda Hankins Miller via Flickr

Recently Sandra Foyt of TechMamas asked

How are you sharing your love of technology with your child(ren)?

Here's what I said: We have a seven year old son and each of the three people in our little family has his/her own laptop. (My school has a rotating upgrade budget for computers, and when old ones get "decommissioned," they're put up for auction within the school community. His is "old," but it works!)

We all have limitations on our media time, but we allow our young gentleman some say over how his gets used. At this point, videos still win over computer time most of the time, although he will occasionally "burn" his entire day's allotment (30 minutes, more on rainy weekends) on a fierce round of Desktop Tower Defense.

I try to be transparent about what I'm doing on the computer... he knows that I use it to blog, pay bills, do research, edit photos, write email, etc. We have pay-as-you-go cellphones, and have explained to him why paying monthly fee for more fully-featured, state-of-the-art phones is not a priority for us at this time. He also understands that we consider hand-held games to be potentially socially isolating.

Online videos have turned into a major source of laughs and inspiration. (Our son watched 5th grader Dalton Sherman's inspirational speech in TX three times in a row one day earlier this month.) Our television viewing has dwindled and is probably about 90% sports.
Our son understands that his grandparents (and other friends/fans!) sometimes know what's going on in our lives via my blog. He knows that if there's a "master" of something in the world, we can probably use the computer to access that information.

And this last has meant that he's already learned things I would NEVER have dreamed of teaching him on my own. Like
this. Helping him figure out how best to appropriately navigate cyberspace will be a long-term project, and one of us will always be there to help: all computing in our home takes place in public spaces.

It's an interesting time to be a parent, isn't it?
How are you sharing your love of technology - or lack of same - with the people in your life?


Sarah Stewart said...

I have been trying to 'educate' my 20 yr old daughter about how she can use the Internet and social networking for her studies and learning. It's interesting - at the moment she uses Facebook for connecting with friends, and she has a blog which I nagged her to start, but doesn't use it for any else much. So I have been introducing her to things like social bookmarking and YouTube as a source of information. Its been an interesting process. Just because she is a Gen Y doesn't mean she is much of a digital native as everyone seems to think Gen Y people are.

Wendy said...

dang, shelley, you are such an inspiration to me. i haven't shared the mac daddy with satch yet since he's three except for a few vids that i found on youtube:
- the baby beluga birth
and emerging butterflies etc.

he is also quite smitten with jen gray and will ask to see her squam thank you vid numerous times.

i do love technology, and my wee boy can work his digital camera by himself, but i haven't taken it much further. would love to hear more of your thoughts on this.