One of our children surprised us (my husband and I) with his recent achievement in the mid-term school exam. We felt it was timely to reward him with what he really wanted. Like many kids of this era, he likes computer games. When asked what he really wanted to get with his cash reward, his reply was a premium version of the same game from the internet. He told me the price of the game in US currency and the equivalent of it in Ringgit. He convinced me that there would still be some savings after purchasing the game. The day before we purchased the game, I wanted him to explain to me why he liked the game so much. He did so patiently and happily despite my constant interruption with questions and the need to correct his statements (ahem… playing a dual role of mom and teacher). I could see that he felt frustrated but he did not give up. So I said “Son, you have to explain to me about your game like you are talking to a layman”. He lamented, “Mom, I feel I am talking to a caveman!” When it comes to technology-related matter, my children always think they know more and agree unanimously that I am far behind!
These days, children use a lot of computer terminology in their day-to-day life. I recall one evening I had to dress up for a relative’s wedding dinner. When I walked down the stairs in a long dinner dress with my hair neatly blown and tied, my children looked up at me with a pleasant expression. My youngest said “Wow... mommy, you have upgraded!” I took the statement as a compliment. As I could not decide on the accessories to match my dress, I wore and switched between a few ear studs and sought for opinion. I recollect this reply from one of them “the latest version is awesome” (he meant that the last pair of ear studs was the best).
Quarrelling and fighting among my kids is a common scene in my house. I recall there was an occasion where two of them quarreled over their possession of toys. One was so angry at other sibling for taking away his toy that he screamed that he would delete the latter from his life. Where would you think they learnt the word “delete” from, if not from the use of computer! As my children grow older and start to attend school, I begin to give constant reminders to them about completion of school homework, maintaining self-hygiene and many others. The regular reminders are no longer effective as I realized I said the same thing all the time and received either no or super delayed response. One of them suggested that I get him a phone and let the phone replace my role in giving reminders… and he added that the reminders are “not so boring”! Is he hinting that I am a boring mom or that his life is boring without a device???
Kids of today’s generation capture and retain information super well from the electronic gadget they are exposed to at home (I shall refer this as “family gadget”). On one account, my children were playing a board game with their cousins which require a good amount of English vocabulary in order to win. Not surprisingly, words that they formed on the board included G for Gmail, F for Facebook, Y for Yahoo, I for iPad and S for Samsung. I start to wonder if it is time for our educational materials like school books, learning posters, educational videos to be reviewed to incorporate the information (both pictorial and words) our children pick up from the family gadget.
On the other hand, I have to get out from the cave… and start to use more computer terminology in my daily chat with children of this era (surely my children to begin with) so that they find me more interesting to talk with. And I certainly do not want my role being replaced by the family gadget.
Ms. Lim Pheak Buen
Principal, LETZHOP Klang