Here’s the problem with smart phones and tablets and all the other fun, exciting new technology that is taking over our lives. Well, the problem besides the fact that they are taking over our lives.
The very technology that makes them fun, exciting and cool to us also makes them fun and exciting and cool to our children.
Next thing you know, your kids are pawing at your most expensive possessions. And it’s giving you an ulcer.
You may remember that last January I was invited by Lenovo to attend and write about CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas. While there, I saw a lot of cool stuff (and a bunch of neck tattoos) and had access to a variety of new technology (and a smorgasbord of prostitutes), not the least of which was Lenovo’s ridiculous “tabletop” computer, the Horizon.
(Read the CES post here for more info about the Horizon, another one here for some info on the ridiculous iPotty, and one more CES post here for some info on a great children’s book and that time I destroyed the one good drawing I’ve ever made in my life.)
The Horizon – with its digital board games and multi-touch interface and AIR HOCKEY – seems like a great family computer, provided you have a couple thousand to spend, a lot of extra space in your family room, and a family that doesn’t include a toddler who is good at breaking things, i.e., if your family doesn’t include a toddler. Because they are thing-breaking savants.
Needless to say, I don’t have a Horizon. But as part of Lenovo’s Influencer program – which will allow me access to cool events to write about (like CES, and Raleigh’s upcoming Hopscotch music fest) – I did receive one of their Yoga computers, which is so small and light that it’s the easiest computer to travel with that I’ve ever had. But that’s not what makes it so cool or what makes it so necessary to keep from my toddler. It’s the touchscreen.
If it were a normal laptop, it wouldn’t be no thang. But the Yoga’s keyboard folds back so you can convert it into a tablet and use the display as a touchscreen, which is a really cool feature, but not one I’ve taken much advantage of yet. Because I’m scared of my son.
He doesn’t care much about keyboards. He sees me clacking around on those all the time and they mean little to him. But he knows from touchscreens. He loves touchscreens, he wants touchscreens, he NEEDS touchscreens. He is not touching my new touchscreen. Even if it was a gift, it’s essential to my daily routine as the world’s most-active, least-known blogger, and I can’t afford to replace it after he gets his grubby little paws all over it. So as far as my almost-three-year-old wrecking machine knows, Daddy’s new computer doesn’t have touch capabilities at all.
Which is a little frustrating, because I like using the touchscreen, and I can’t, because the walls have ears, and eyes, and disturbingly quiet feet. The kid sees everything. I have to lock myself in the bathroom just to eat my sugary breakfast cereal because once he hears a crunch he comes a-runnin! And I’m much more comfortable sharing a little of my $4 cereal than I am handing over my new digital hardware.
There’s a reason the website Shit My Kids Ruined exists, and it’s because kids ruin shit without even trying. The good news is that as long as I hide the existence of the touchscreen from him, the computer is safe.
The bad news is I need my toddler to show me how to use Windows 8.