Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Millennial Generation, the Internet, and My Kids

I have always been fascinated by computers. By the time I twelve, there were two computers in my house, an amazing RadioShack TRS-80 Color Computer (with 16k memory module) and a blazing Atari 600XL. The Atari was actually mine; the TRS-80 I shared with my brother. Computers have been a part of my blood and my life for nearly as long as I can remember.

Even today, I've got a Linux MythTV media server, a Hauppauge MediaMVP acting as a MythTV client, a fully wired and wireless networked house, and so on and so forth. Even my wife, who hadn't done much beyond word processing on a computer before we met, is now an avid computer user.

It is, therefore, somewhat disconcerting to me that my kids aren't as fascinated by them as I am. I certainly don't expect them to follow in my footsteps (even though I would love to teach them how to code!), but beyond a few websites they use regularly and a little desire to e-mail, there isn't much interest. My oldest is 13 and doesn't know what a blog is.

So, this is where I become unsure. Computers are a significant portion of any professional's life at this point. The Millennial Generation will be much more so. I want to ensure that my children are not just prepared with the knowledge and understanding of the power of the Internet, but that they are honed with that knowledge. On the flip side, I also know the dangers that lurk there. I don't want to unwittingly push them into a jungle they aren't ready to deal with.

The goal is to train them to understand how to take advantage of the incredible power of the Internet without getting lost in the incredible wastelands that populate it as well.

So these are my questions: How much do I push my kids out into the vast jungle that is the Internet? How much do I worry about it? How much do I let them explore it organically?


Anonymous said...

Push the damn luddites! You're a geek, don't take no for an answer. Make them love technology as much as want them to end up working at Mickey Ds?

simplyred said...

Kids tend to go in opposite directions as their parents (at least for awhile). They see your interests as YOUR interests and try to stake out their own. They can't escape computers, computers are as normal to them as telephones were to you - they've always been there. So just relax, make the knowledge available and they'll absorb much more than you realize just by being around you.