Wednesday, April 15, 2009

kids these days are smart

If I had a few extra hours every day, I'd really like to take a cooking class and learn how to use those ubiquitous things that they call "pots" and "pans". I'd like to have the ability to open the refrigerator and see various things ('ingredients' some might call them) sitting on a shelf and just instinctively know how to create a wonderful meal.

I'd like to learn a second language.

I'd like to take a photography class and learn how to use all of the settings on my camera. But until such time that I have more hours in the day - or am struck with the ability to easily absorb knowledge - I'm happy to report that my 16-year old niece, Angela, has given me a brief overview of Photoshop, which is one of those things I've always wanted to understand.

Charlie bought me Photoshop last year for Christmas and after I loaded it on to my computer and realized that it was not at all intuitive, I haven't done anything with it for 16 months. Except see it load on to my sidebar every time I start my computer and frustratedly think, "Hopefully, I'll figure THAT out before I'm 90."

When our family was here this past weekend, Angela pulled up a chair and showed me how to edit photos in Photoshop. I was absolutely blown away by how computer savvy she is at 16-years old. Not only does she know everything there is to know about Photoshop, she fully understands HTML to the point that she created her father's business website entirely from scratch.

When she was eleven.

Angela took this picture of Sir Henry Elton John, with William in the background, and with a simple little zip zap of this and that ...

Created this picture...

I was amazed. Much like I was amazed when William figured out how to access Live World News on our Wii. And Carolyn figured out how to change her Wii profile picture. And Elizabeth figured out how to reset all of our computer settings.

When I asked Angela how she learned all of these things on her own, she said "I just tinker until I can understand how things work. It's pretty simple, really. You know?"

No. I don't know.

I don't know at all.

Charlie recently adjusted my running watch because although I've tried to make adjustments, ever since Day Light Savings time started last month, the time has been off by an hour. And after trying desperately to read the owners manual for our stereo receiver, I still couldn't figure out how to turn off the speakers in our dining room so I unplugged all of the wires from our home entertainment system. This caused my husband a great deal of anxiety. But, that's what he gets for going to work.

I've resigned myself to the shallow end of obtaining certain knowledge. I know my patience level and I know my limitations. I know that the way I learn is to have someone stand directly in front of me and walk me through something, step by step. By step.

If the way the children have been figuring things out with various electronic equipment is any indication of their technical prowess, very soon, I'll have tots riding around in carseats who know more about computer applications than me.


  1. So true! Scarey, eh?

    My Henry logged on to Nick Jr BY HIMSELF the other day. I asked him how he did it and he said, "I've just been watching you. You click the arrow up by those words until they are blue, then you type n-i-c-k-j-r-dot-c-o-m and then push this key (the "enter"). It's really easy, Mom." Yes, it is, buddy, but YOU ARE FOUR. I didn't even understand that the internet was here to stay, for real people and not just computer geeks, until I was TWENTY-ONE, OK? :)

  2. My twin boys are 6 1/2 and it is SCARY how much they know about electronics in general. When they stay the night at my parents house, they have to show my mom how to work the remote control and how to rent a movie using On Demand!!! And don't get me started on the computer...they are barely behind me in that category!


  3. A friend and I decided a few weeks ago that we are truly the "sandwich generation" when it comes to technology. Nobody expects our parents to be tech-savvy, so anything they manage to do is a bonus. Everyone expects us to be tech-savvy, but not having learned it from the cradle up, it's not second nature like it is for our kids. Just like learning a second language as an adult -- we have to work harder at it!

    For what it's worth, I think you're pretty good at this. I'm supposed to take over administration of the Cub Scouts website and I don't have a clue what I'm doing. I apparently don't even know the right questions to ask, because I keep getting answers like "just pick an html program and then you can do whatever you want." But I don't know how to GET an HTML program. Is this something I'm supposed to buy at Best Buy?

  4. My daughter (6yo) has gotten very good at using the internet to play on the type of sites. The other day she tried it on a laptop with just a touchpad and couldn't make it work even when I tried to show her.

    I still have a little more time before she passes me on the techie scale...probably a month or so.

  5. I really wish your niece could help me. My husband installed GIMP on our computer. It's free photo editing software similar to Photoshop. It's been on my computer for months. I figured out how to select something in a picture and change the color. That's it.

  6. I almost called you last night to watch PBS. There was a program from Korea where young kids had to go to addiction camp from computers. It seems the world is full of cell phones and computers and it is the latest addiction. Kids, especially, are spending 6-8 hours a day texting, gaming, and other computer like events. They have lost all their social skills. So, remember dear child, Moderation in all things.
    Great post and I think you do great on the computer.

  7. Kids aren't afraid of anything electronic. They don't have the fear of messing things up.

    We started our daughter on the computer at 18 months with a fantastic Sesame Street program called Baby Keys. Our son was already doing Curious George programs by then. Then our kids started keyboard classes in kindergarten as part of the regular curriculum and have had a required computer class every year. No wonder they aren't intimidated.

    Now, of course I still have to hand my cell phone to one of my kids to help me work it. Also, my new digital camera. And the new netbook computer I got in February.

    Of course, they don't know how to use the oven.

  8. Such a good sport, in fact, that he posted on his Twitter page this morning, "I will donate 100K to one individual's favorite non profit organization. Of course,you must convince me why by using 140 characters or less."

    Hugh Jackman is the he....can't hurt the fundraising!

  9. PhotoShop for Digital Photographers by Scott Kelby.

    You get the basics that helps you learn how everything works together and then info on the more complex processes. Best PhotoShop guide ever.

  10. If I have extra hours a day, I would like to learn a third language, maybe French, maybe Spanish.

    Right now I am teaching my baby to learn Chinese as a second language; I am trying to teach her in a better way, more efficiently and with more fun, so that she doesn't need to say "I wish I could have extra hours to learn a second language" in the future. :-)