Sunday, June 14, 2009

Techno Kids

When Michaela and I had our first son, I vowed I would never let him beat me at basketball. I know, of course, my aging and his maturing (maturing sounds way better than aging) will eventually cooperate to put the matter beyond my control, but I think a father should stay the alpha male for as long as possible. What I had never given any thought to, however, was my son surpassing me in the area of technology.

I am not an MIT graduate or anything, but I do fancy myself pretty technical when it comes to computers and computer-related gadgets. I have always said my generation will be the first senior citizens who play video games in the old-folks home. I can design basic web-pages
( and get all my cameras, cell phones, psps, laptops, etc. up to date with all the latest software and whatnot. So, I never thought I would have to worry about having to work to stay ahead of my children in this field.

Then came Isaac.

I do not think my wife will mind (and if she does, she will have to comment below) that I think Isaac has already surpassed her to an extent when it comes to technology. He has been able to
use my digital camera (zooming, switching between video, camera and gallery, and [most importantly] not dropping it) since he was three years old. In fact, he used it on our last big trip to the states and the last picture on it was the one his mother took before she dropped and broke it.

The last time the family went to England was another eye-opener. Michaela flew with the three children by herself a few days earlier than I. We spoke every day on Skype and finally it was my turn to fly. As I was eating lunch at a restaurant before catching a taxi to the airport, my cell phone rang.


"Hi Dad. When are you coming here?" was the reply from Isaac, four years old at the time.

"I'm on my way there today. Let me talk to your mother." It was not unusual for Michaela to call on Skype and have the boys talk first.

"Mom! Dad's on the phone."

"Isaac, not now. I am busy." This I thought was a tad unusual. It was not like I had called her, she had called me. The least she could do was come to the phone.

"He wants to talk to you."

"Oh, Isaac."

Finally. "Hello?"

"Hi Michaela. Why did you call if you didn't want to talk?"

"Oh my God! I thought he was just joking."

It turns out Isaac had gone on to his grandfathers computer and called me on Skype with no one's help. This scares the crap out of me.

How are we as parents supposed to exert any kind of controls over what he reads or watches or gets into on the Internet? How far can we go and still be good parents and not stuffy, over-protective Footloose parents?

All these questions popped into my head a couple of weeks ago as Isaac was watching Scooby Doo on my PSP. I looked over and he had started Star Wars instead by accessing the main menu and the memory card.

"Isaac. I said no Star Wars. And how did you know how to change it? I never showed you that."
He said fine, he would change it back. And then a couple of seconds later he looked at me and literally said.

"Dad. Nothing can stop me."

Insert expletive here.

NOTE: It has been a long time between posts. I am going to try and be more on it, but kids, work, husbandry, and 'other' are taking their toll on the spare time.