I first heard the term “Generation M” while reading the 2006 Time magazine article “The Multitasking Generation.”
The explosion in technology, I soon discovered, brought with it dozens–even hundreds!–of new questions I needed to be asking as a parent.
It’s easy to mistake kids’ technological sophistication for maturity. Parents and teachers often back way off because they feel like kids are so far ahead of them. But kids have no idea the kind of firepower they’re playing around with. Adult guidance and wisdom are not obsolete. Kids need us now more than ever.
As part of an ongoing series called “eBabies + iTeens + YouToo,” I’ll be raising key questions regarding kids and technology that we need to be asking, exploring, and answering for our families. Think of it as the 411 and the 911 for adults playing catch-up with Generation M.
Here’s a sample of the kinds of questions we’ll be tackling in the weeks to come:
Some Questions I Wish I’d Known to Ask
- How did our 2 1/2 -year-old figure out Reader Rabbit 5x faster than her father & I did?
- What questions should we have asked and what guidelines should we have set before we put computers in our kids’ bedrooms?
- How did our daughter manage to have her own MySpace account for two years before I knew about it?
- How many other parents across America get stuck with unexpected cell phone charges? (In our case, it was $100+ because our daughter’s friends told her, “Don’t worry! Texting is FREE!” back when it wasn’t!)
- What should I do when kids are taking photos of my son with their cell phones, without his permission?
- When we had Japanese exchange students stay with us for Christmas, what should we have said / done about their laptop computers and Internet access?
- Should I be interested in and/or concerned about what’s on the iPod my daughter borrowed from her friend…considering that the friend is a male 4 years older than she is?
- When my friend’s 10-year-old lost her purse containing over $750 worth of technology, whose fault was it? What was an appropriate response? What were appropriate consequences?
- When my daughter launders a jacket she’s borrowed from a friend and discovers the $200 iPod in an inner pocket after the spin cycle is complete, who pays for the replacement?
- How did my daughter’s phone get a $9.95 monthly subscription service even though I told the cell phone rep, “No surprises. I want NO SURPRISES!” ($80+ by the time I caught it — SURPRISE!)
Some Questions I Am Still Asking
- When I invite my students over for brunch, should I let them text throughout the meal or should I ask them to put their phones away?
- Why do kids text each other about tonight’s homework and wait 2 hours for a reply rather than calling and saying, “So, what’s tonight’s homework?”
- Since when have “to,” “too,” and “two” all been replaced by “2″?
- Is all the time they spend tweeting and tumbling and texting real communication? Or is it a waste of time?
- When I tell my students about the “good old days,” when “Cut and Paste” meant that I cut up the rough draftS of papers and pasted them back together as part of the expected multiple revision process, why do they roll their eyes (and go back to texting under their desks)?
- How will today’s kids, whose lives are largely virtual, form honest f-2-f bonds when they’ve grown up online, perfecting the art of ‘identity management’?
- What questions regarding kids and technology have you asked and answered for your family?
- What questions are you wrestling with?
By: Cheri Gregory