Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hanging out with digital natives...

When my seven year old granddaughter was two, I used to keep a supply of Dum Dum suckers in my purse. When she was overly tired, hungry, or fussy and we were out of the house doing those inevitable things that didn't allow her needed nap or meal, a tiny sucker would keep her content until we could take her home and meet her needs. Well, in just five years, the need for a sucker in my purse has been eliminated. Today I found myself in a vehicle with my grandson, who was at the moment a very fussy two year old. He and I were waiting while his mother and sister ran a quick errand. Luckily, his sister had left behind her ipod touch. Guess what I found waiting for him there? A Dum Dum sucker app!!! His tears ended instantly when I handed him the ipod and he began tapping the tiny sucker on the screen while smiling from ear to ear. As he tapped, the sucker disappeared before our eyes, and when only the stick was left, he knowingly gave the ipod a shake causing a new sucker to appear so he could begin the process all over again. He was totally engaged in "devouring" suckers until his mother returned a few minutes later. The best part was, no sugar entered his mouth! There is truly an app for everything!!!

My three grandchildren, ages 11, 7, and 2, are true digital natives. While at their house last night, my oldest granddaughter, who was in her room, called urgently for her little sister, who was busy reading to me. (A book, by the way. Yes, they still love to read real books!) Reese, ran to see what Kenzie wanted. She was gone for quite awhile and I could hear voices coming from their room. When she returned, I asked her what they were doing. Very matter of factly, as she snuggled up beside me to return to the book she had been reading, she informed me that they had been skyping on Kenzie's netbook with their cousin... in Cambodia. This morning, Kain was sitting beside Reese at the kitchen table where his sister was busy playing Moshi Monsters on my laptop. Two year old Kain kept reaching over and tapping the screen. As I watched him, I realized he was trying to interact with the game! You see his two older sisters both have ipod touches, his dad has an ipad, and his mom an iphone! He didn't understand why my simple MacBook Pro didn't respond to his touch!

What a different world children are growing up in today! Technology is a routine part of their lives. I am old enough, of course, to remember when all of the miraculous gadgets did not exist and I don't think I will ever stop being amazed by what we can do with technology today. What is next? What will be in store for the children of my grandchildren? Stay tuned... it's bound to be incredible!

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