Low-Tech Grandparents in a High-Tech World (A Guest Post)

We are honored to have a guest post from Krista's mom today!

This morning I walked 3 miles in our neighborhood, with my Sony Walkman playing my favorite radio station in my ears. I started wondering if anyone else on the planet still uses a Sony Walkman, because all we hear about these days is iPods and smartphones. I asked my younger daughter, who is in her late 20’s, what technology a person would use to hear the radio while they walk, and she assured me that most people would be using smartphones for the same purpose.

I started thinking about our grandsons who are growing up in this high tech world and how old-fashioned we must seem to them at times and how different their growing up years are from my husband's and mine.

All three of our grandsons, ages 12 yr, 3.5 yr and 2 yr have the latest technology for their age group and are completely comfortable with it.

It is not like we are completely old fashioned and out of date as far as technology. As a teacher I use a Smartboard, document camera, and computer every day. I read on a Kindle (the original one) and my husband has a Kindle Fire, which he loves, and I use a laptop and an iPad fairly frequently. However, the iPod that younger daughter gave to us, is gathering dust over on the shelf. We also have issues with our TV/DVD/cable connections, and sometimes have to wait until older daughter comes to help us figure it out.

I have never played “Angry Birds” or any other video game. I am perfectly content playing the original Solitaire! It amazes me that my grandsons seem to be able to spend so much time with their game systems and never seem to tire of them. I have a Facebook account and spend more time than I should looking at other people’s posts and adding my own posts and pictures.

My lack of experience with iPods was frustrating one time when we were keeping the younger grandsons, and Younger Daughter gave her quickie instructions of how to start the iPod music when I put one of the boys to bed. I guess it would be called an iPod shuffle….the kind with a round thing in the middle that controls everything [Editor's note:  No, Mom, it's an iPod with video, at least one step up from an old iPod Shuffle :)]. By the time I was able to finally get music to play, my grandson was wide awake, and saying something like, “I don’t want that music.” I tried to convince him that “that kind of music” would be ok for one night, but of course that didn’t work. I think I ended up singing Sunday school songs to him, hoping that might work!

We broke down and bought older grandson (12 yr) an iPod Touch for his birthday. We have always tried to buy the boys something that would promote exercise and being outdoors, such as bicycles, basketball hoops, swingsets, etc. But at age 12 we were running out of possibilities. I thought I had the perfect idea, but it fizzled. I heard that you could hire a pilot to take you for an hour long airplane ride for about the same price as an iPod Touch! Unfortunately, he nor his parents liked the idea and they wanted “to keep his feet on the ground’ for the time being...so after asking my 4th grade class what they thought I should get him, we went to Walmart and purchased an iPod touch. Of course I had no idea what I was buying, but fortunately had the help of a very nice young salesman who had probably been trained in “how to deal with low tech grandparents trying to buy high tech items."

On a recent mother/daughter/grandson camping trip, we resorted to putting a movie on the iPad for the boys to watch on a blanket outside of the tent. But it’s not like they had not done a lot of what I would consider “normal” camping trip activities such as hiking, swimming, and sitting around the campfire.

Growing up in today’s world is very different from growing up in the 50’s and 60’s…..but I am sure my parents probably said the same thing about my generation, when television was just making its way into our world. Whether we like it or not, this is the world of our grandchildren, and this grandma is trying to accept it and learn to use it. But please don’t laugh at me when you see me walking around the neighborhood with my Sony Walkman.

Marlene is the mother of two daughters, Krista and Tisha. She is the blessed grandmother of Joshua, Miles, and Spencer. She is a fourth grade teacher in Tennessee, a preacher's wife to her husband of 40 years, and the proud owner of a Sony Walkman.

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