PCs, passwords and Pingu
A survey out today shows that two thirds of us rely on our children to help us unravel the mysteries of technology. Research conducted by The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair among children aged 11-16 and their parents found that:
– One in four can’t use the PC without help from the kids
– One in five can’t make a call on a mobile without help
– 17 per cent struggle to use the TV
– 79 per cent of parents are unable to answer their kids’ questions about how things work and one in five has been caught out just making up the answer
I draw the line at making up the answers when asked how things work. In fact, I did a pretty good job explaining the electric cigarette on the way to school this morning, though I say so myself. But when it comes to my kids trouncing me in technology, I top the polls. I’ve even boasted about how my daughter changed the password on my phone once – to Pingu!
However, with so many ordinary things in life now involving technology – from paying the school dinner money to learning how to use a whiteboard for teaching – I am forced to get my head around it rather than bury my head in the sand. I’m not saying I’m ‘embracing’ technology though; more that I’m beginning to nudge it curiously, albeit with quite a long stick.
If I don’t need to learn something, I won’t – I only learned to drive when I got a job that depended on it and it’s the same with technology. If I don’t want to watch Disney Channel 24 hours a day I need to master the remote control – but not until I’m driven mad by Good Luck Charrrrlie.
I’ve come a long way though. When I first started out in journalism – as a 12-year-old, obviously – computers were only just coming in and we actually went on strike to defend our right to type. Looking back it seems crazy that I fought for the right to use a manual typewriter. Writing stories involved hammering out each paragraph on a separate piece of paper so they could be edited by a sub-editor holding a pen in one hand and a fag in the other.
A few (ahem) years later and here I am typing this on my laptop and later today it will ping its way onto a blog via the Candis office hundreds of miles away. That’s if I can persuade my son to help me put it on to a memory stick before my deadline…