America On Line

Filed under: Uncategorized — maxweb February 4, 2008 @ 10:57 pm

I decided a couple of days ago to give my 9 year old son my old P266 laptop that runs Win 98… It can’t really be upgraded and at this point, it is what it is… That being said, to a little boy who really loves gadgets, computers, and anything electronic, it’s the perfect gift. It’s a great little machine to learn basic computing, it gets him online, and by showing him how to use it, I’m hoping he’ll see that computers have so much more potential than just game playing. I loved playing games when I was his age, but there’s so much more to do with them these days. Today, I introduced him to Instant Messaging, giving him his own screen name and setting him up so we can chat back and forth. Since I already had an AIM client on my old laptop it was no big deal to get him a username and password, which led to me creating 3 other accounts so we can use them on a few of the boxes around the house. I also managed to remember my password for my old account, so I now have 4 aim accounts enabled. I haven’t used AIM in years, I’m not a big fan of Instant Messaging, the pace and the attention to someone else that it takes to use it. I prefer either the Vb forum setup or even better, Twitter, where you can find me happily micro-blogging most of the day away… at the same time, I realize that Twitter really isn’t for children and my son needs to learn to walk before he can run.

 I wanted to test the idea that a child, if given a laptop and no instruction, will learn to use it and use it to teach themselves. I have been very interested to learn how he believes things should work… He wants to play media, so he grabs a folder and drags and drops it on the Windows media player icon… not a bad idea, but not really how it works… After giving him a day or two to just play, I noticed that’s all I saw him doing, he didn’t even respond to my emails when I sent them to him on his freshly set up email account. I couldn’t figure out if he didn’t know how, or just didn’t care to respond via the keyboard. Tonight, after installing AIM and getting his screen name and mine setup, I found that he loves talking via Instant Message, that old charm of having the things you say get an instant response, no “I’m busy right now, give me a minute…” or other put offs parental units are known to espouse… just easy, loving conversation between a father and son. I got to thinking about how I hope that it continues this way through out the rest of his life. I know that so many children end up at odds with their parents, even good parents, through their teen years. I’m hoping that if he and I learn to communicate through simple, but effective high tech means, it will keep his interest and teach us to be better to each other. I’m pretty sure there’s a lesson in all of that, did you find it too?

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