PCs, passwords and Pingu

helpA 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…

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