Monday, August 25, 2014

Technophobe Rant

Computers still make me so mad.

Doesn't anyone else see what I do:  that these tools that were supposed to make our lives easier have instead taken to dominating our time?

Mostly I think they are a big waste of time and I don't bother with them.

But every now and then someone convinces me that I am missing something and so I try it - for the kids.

Mindcraft?  Biggest time suck I have ever seen.  1980s technology.  Concept that is just a lame computerised version of Legos.  My kids can get brainwashed into it just like any other.  But it's a worldwide phenomenon and now my kids can say they do it just like everyone else.

I would prefer they come discover the Glass House Mountains with me.  Hammer apart some sandstone to see what's inside.  Build a Lego version of the mountain.  Tell me what they've thought about that day.

Granted, I have met a couple of autistic boys who create a comfortable world for themselves on Minecraft.  And who then use it as a means of communicating with other kids.  Cool.

But let's all stop pretending our kids are brilliant for being able to use this program.  I mean: it IS meant to be user friendly, isn't it?!

Last week we watched a kids gaming news show.  Apparently someone has created an exact replica of Mount Everest on Mindcraft.  The hope is that someday the entire planet will be realistically rebuilt on Mindcraft.


They can't get these people to work on solving the current Ebola crisis or TB or AIDS or world hunger or cancer or poverty or the Mid East?  Never mind the last one:  I finally looked it up online.  They have been fighting for over 4,000 years.  Christ couldn't solve it.  Mohammed couldn't solve it.  Where the heck is that saviour the Jews keep waiting for?  Heads up:  NOW would be a good time.  If you don't get blown up before you finish childhood. 

But those issues would require moving out of your parents' house and working on something other than computer games.  (Look:  Temple Grandin said it first and SHE's autistic.  So don't come down on me!)

Same with two year olds figuring out our IPhones.  Once again: icons you don't need to read to follow.  Instant gratification.  Our newest gadgets are MADE for a two-year old mentality.  Which is good since that is what I see all around me everyday.

But, of course, I HAD to try Reading Eggs.  Go ahead: it's so great for getting your kids to read.  Forgetting that my other four kids had learned to read WITHOUT Reading Eggs, I decided to give it a go with Ian. 

Ten years ago I made the same mistake with Baby Einstein.  The video shows moving images and objects designed to stimulate your baby's brain.  Like going outside or playing with blocks or coloring or SPEAKING wouldn't do the same thing?  Was this just a ploy to get people to feel good about sticking their kids in front of a TV screen instead of paying attention to them?

Ian has taught himself the letters and letter sounds over the past year while I was busy worrying about Ryan's schoolwork.  He DID use some technology: those abc toys that you press that then tell you the letter.  But then he walked around the house - or outdoors - and found letters and told me about them. 

And we read books. 

Books.  Remember those?

Today he wanted to learn about the clock - really, he asked - and I taped some numbers in a circle on the floor and he stood inside them and whirled around telling the time with his sword as a pointer.

I AM showing off a bit.  NONE of my other kids had this interest in letters and numbers before they were three.

But I'm finding that SPEAKING to him and LISTENING to him works a lot better than throwing him in front of a computer program. 

Like he really needs to get hooked on facebook.  Talk about a time suck.  Last week I had a dance mom get mad at me because I hadn't checked facebook that day to find out about the new performance she had booked in. 

"Is Andrew to able to perform at the Mango Hill gig?" she asked.

Not knowing which gig that was - and having quite a few Mango Hill gigs with RYAN's dance troupe as well - I asked her which one she meant.

"The one at Mango Hill,"  she replied. 

I had that one coming.  I am TRYING - and lately failing - not to be judging common IQs.

"What date it is?" I persisted.

"Oh, I don't know.  Uh.  Sept 3, I think?"

Note: SHE was the one who had put up the notice that afternoon!

"What time?"

"Oh.  I don't know.  It's on a Wednesday.  We all live nearby anyway.  It shouldn't be a problem.  Let me know if he can come."

Deep breath.  Not only does EVERYONE in the world NOT live in North Lakes or Mango Hill, (think USA military base without the soldiers in combat gear checking under your car for explosives at the entrances) but it apparently would come as a huge shock to some people living there that most of us wouldn't WANT to!  Plus, Andrew still has soccer on Wednesdays from 5 -6 and while HE has mastered the juggling act quite well, I am getting a bit old for it.  And have four other children to juggle in addition to Andrew.

I politely declined the invite.  Honestly, if you can't tell me person to person while I am standing right in front of you, then I am not wasting my time going to facebook to get the information.

Don't you dare text message me while I am still in the room either!

Maybe I AM retro, old-fashioned, German, Steiner, hippy homeschooler, anti progress.

My kids play board games and dress up as knights and superheroes.  They write books for fun and color home-made birthday cards.

As for Reading Eggs?  I am pleased to report that Ian doesn't get the concept at all.  The egg makes a big splat and a fart noise if you press the wrong letter.

"Heh.  Heh.  Heh.  Reading eggs farts, Mom,"  he tells me, as he intentionally presses the incorrect answers as often as he can.

It certainly does my little wonder boy.  Let's put on your spider man outfit and superman cape and go out and see what magical powers you can imagine for yourself this morning.

Without the help of a preprogrammed computer game.

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