Being an avid reader, I recently broke down and asked for a Nook Color for my Anniversary present.
I chose it over the eInk styles because I wanted the back light for reading on road trips at night. I chose it over the Kindle Fire for the EPUB file format it uses, which is open source and allows me to get books from many places, rather than being tied to Amazon’s sole proprietary format.
And while wowed by the apps capability, we are generally a non-video game household, and I vowed to keep this toy for myself. Once I downloaded some apps and my kids caught wind of it … mom would no longer get to use her Nook when traveling. Or probably any other time. Which was the whole point. So yes, I was going to be selfish with my new present.
My life long loyalty to “real” books is intact, but I must say that I’m thoroughly enjoying this new gadget. Probably more so than any electronic toy that I’ve owned.
(Ok, that’s not true – I love music, and continue to marvel at the Super Hero Capabilities of my iPod, compared to the Walkman and mixed-tapes I was raised on.)
So this isn’t an anti-technology rant.
We recently purchased plane tickets to make a long overdue trip across the country to visit my husband’s family. A trip we desperately wanted to take before my son turned 2. So he didn’t need an expensive airline ticket.
My very wild son. Who will likely be fighting almost every minute of the longest (3 1/2 hour) leg, trying to get off of our lap. It wouldn’t help any if he had his own seat. He wouldn’t want to sit in that either.
Paniced, I broke down. I just downloaded my first apps for the kids onto my Nook, in preparation for this marathon travel event.
Then last weekend, my daughter and I found ourselves on a short day trip. I couldn’t read anyway, due to the canyon curves. Why postpone the inevitable? I handed her the Nook with Angry Birds Rio all queued up. Big smile.
And then I began to get that unsettled feeling. I’ve felt it before. And it’s hard to articulate why it bothers me, but it does. I wonder if I’m the only one?
I look around the car, taking a quick inventory of everyone’s entertainment needs being electronically met. Driver: iPod (thru car stereo), Front Passenger: games on iPhone, Daughter: Angry Birds on Nook, 12 mo old Nephew In Middle: baby game on iTouch.
Now I am all for keeping your kids happy and distracted, especially in situations like this. I just confessed to all that.
But heaven help us if we just visited. Or enjoyed the scenery. Or played some memory or “I Spy With My Little Eye” type games.
I remember as a kid, driving across the state of South Dakota (*read “flat, endless, and boring”*) and surviving without any electronic gadgets. We looked out the window. We stared at the highway lines along the side of the road. We read a paper book or played Mad Libs with our sibling. We used our imagination to make up games. Now I feel as if this is an Era that is complete by-gone.
And it makes me a little sad. Anyone else see how electronic gadget use has changed our kids lives, and feel any regret?