Tuesday, September 29, 2015

MegaRAM Bytes

My wife is not ashamed to admit that she really doesn't have a clue when it comes to anything tech related. She has a healthy appreciation for how technology affects our everyday life, but no real desire to dig any deeper into it than is absolutely necessary to survive. My two little girls, like most kids these days, are the exact opposite. They soak it in like a sponge and keep begging for more. So when my daughters are chomping at the bit for more tech time, my wife just says, "Mega - RAM - Bytes - whatever..."

Earlier this week I was thinking about how knowing your way around a computer or network seems to be the new version of knowing your way around an engine.  Most people have a general understanding of what's going on "under the hood" while others could do a complete rebuild. Personally, I think I'm somewhere in the middle on both counts. I know enough to help others, but that also means I know enough to get in trouble.

I'm glad that I am able to share some of these skills with my daughters. I've heard of many a father who wouldn't let their daughter (or son for that matter) take the car out until they proved they could change a tire by themselves. My daughters will definitely know how to change a tire. They're also going to know their way around a computer. To be honest, both will be equally important when they're learning to drive. Trouble shooting the on-board computer in the car will probably be a more likely scenario than having to change a flat tire.

Ziva, my six year old, has been asking to type on the computer more and more lately. She has begun writing a daily journal and it works out better (for both of us) when she types it on the computer rather than writing it on paper. (For the record, I see value in both written and typed media, but I'm not going to press my luck when she's eager to write.) She has fun typing on the computer and really enjoys the spellcheck and backspace/delete features. I can safely say that my wife and I also appreciate the those features. It helps Ziva try and write on her own and really cuts back on the number of words we have to spell out for her.

Our next training topic will be computer safety. It's already starting with the basics of password protection. I created a profile for her to use my laptop as well as a password to go with her own personal login. I asked her what PIN she would like for her password and she said "911." I told her it had to be four or more numbers or letters - to which she said "1234." I explained to her that "1234" was too common and she should mix it up a bit. She wanted to argue that point by countering that it's the same password they use at the library for the iPads. (Yep, and every person in town over the age of three knows that password.) She finally got the idea and came up with a real password...which she promptly told her mom. I told her a password wasn't any good if you went and told everyone what it was. Her response was, "But mommy asked?!?" So I guess we have a little work to do on the whole Phishing topic then..

In all seriousness though, I can't imagine it's too far around the corner that we'll be having the talk about online safety. I would be pretty dumb to think it's all that far out there. I just recently found out that my two girls (4 & 6 years old) have been downloading games off the app store on our smartphones. If they could do that, it's not a huge step to figuring out some chat app or social media account.

I will leave you with this observation: If my girls and their understanding of technology is any measure of the typical kids these days, we should be alright. It's getting hard to find something that doesn't have a computer in it these days - so it's a good thing they pick up on it so quickly. I'll let you go for now. I've looked at a computer screen long enough for one day. Until next time....