Ten Ways to Spot Someone Who Needed Their Kid to Teach Them the Internet
By Colby Marshall - March 22, 2016
WE KNOW, WE KNOW. You're sick and tired of millenials insisting on texting instead of calling, keeping their devices next to their dinner plates, and spending more time tweeting the concert (lke the pic at the L) than actually enjoying being there. If you were born before the 80's—and are, therefore, what's known as a digital immigrant— you probably abhor the label every bit as much your neighbor's twelve-year-old's selfie stick and the term "selfie stick" itself put together. You're probably not fully on board with the trends—selfie stick or not—and at times, you're right: this new technology comes with concerning aspects. Yes, we know you worry about us texting and driving, and yes, we're aware hearing our voices say hello on a call can be a good thing sometimes, too.
But if we have to admit when you're right, then it's time the digital immigrants admit a few things, too—like how just as often as those worrisome elements that come with new technology can be legitimate concerns, they can also be unfounded, trumped up conclusions that stem from resistance to change, fear of the unknown, and—if we're all just being honest here—a belief that our old habits don't need any improving. (And sometimes worse: any change from our perfected abits will only change things for the worse.)
Some people think that kids playing video games means they never play outside. Others worry that teens text so much, they'll grow up not knowing how to have an in-person conversation—or even crazier—teens won't get to know each other or make friends without sitting and talking. Many digital immigrants watch the natives post selfies, statuses, and most aspects of their lives on social media, worried these younger people are saying so much without ever learning to say a single thing.
I don't think the majority of those issues are nearly that black and white, and we'll just have to agree to disagree on certain points. But that's another post for another time, because there's one thing we probably can agree on: If you fall on the digital immigrant side of the spectrum, no matter how you might resist getting on facebook ; no matter how long you held out before signing up for high-speed internet ; no matter how you cursed the day you walked into Verizon to purchase a smartphone after weeks of the local theatre begging to borrow your old rotary dial phone to use as a prop in Bye Bye Birdie....
No matter how inconvenient you found all of those things, there's an extremely good chance you found one convenience when finally surrendering that their time had come : that your digital native children knew how to set them up for you and teach you to use them.
But just in case you haven't shouted from the rooftops that you weren't ready for the world to take a technological leap...That when the new wave came, not only were you not swept up in it and riding it, but instead, you were stuck treading water until you grabbed the bouy were now holding onto for dear life. . . don't worry! Below, I've given you a simple, painless, and mostly shameless way to finally come clean, and admit that dirty little secret most digital immigrant-aged parents know about each other but just keep hush hush: You're Old Enough that You Needed Your Kids to Teach You the Internet!
**DISCLAIMER** This post doubles as a public service announcement, both to raise awareness of common hazards, as well as to educate those at risk of these harmless, somewhat naive, often ignorant, but usually very annoying behaviors. This blog acknowledges that a subset of the digital immigrant population remains unaware that certain internet habits are hilariously foolish at best, ridiculous & harmful at worst, and we at this blog are dedicated to pointing out that fact as thoroughly & sarcastically as possible while maintaining a kind-spirited, all in good fun approach. After all, we all have a lot to learn in life, so we present this true-to-life list with the hope that you'll get a laugh or two out of it...and also the address for letmegooglethatforyou.com.****
So, without further ado, I present:
The Top Ten Ways To Announce
(Intentionally or Not!)
You're Old Enough That You Needed Your Kids to Teach You the Internet!
10.) You post a facebook status that includes a plea to help make your neighbor's son's music video/this random woman's touching story about a stranger finding her glasses/a picture of that cat "go viral."
9.) You ask your facebook friends what time a concert is/how to get to Golden Corral/how much Benadryl you can give to your cat who ate a lizard and seemed to be allergic to it, because somehow, it's more efficient to open your browser, open facebook on that browser, post the status, then wait for responses (aka half-baked opinions of people who 10 to 1 have no knowledge of the subject) than it would be to simple open the same browser as you did in step one, type your question into the search bar, hit enter, and get an accurate answer in instants.
8.) You refer to Twitter as, "The Twitter."
7.) You refuse to use or even so much as create an account on "the Twitter", because for some reason, a feed of ONLY status updates from friends presented in a linear structure (and without the clutter of the endless facebook groups other people can add you to without your permission, endless photo galleries to tag or be tagged in, or mindless, never-ending games that involve building tiny farms) just confuses the hell out of you.
6.) You often post "news" article with scandalous, ridiculous, or alarming headlines from websites like www.thiswebsiteisbiased.com and www.exaggeratedscarythingsthepublicshouldreadtoinfluenceyourperception.org, along with a status like, "I hope this isn't true!"
5.) You treat posts that say, "Share if you agree!" as not so much a suggestions as requirements.
4.) You needed to learn to use the internet.
3.) You often share an "urgent" missing persons post/"breaking" news story/meme about a certain week being such-and-such appreciation week/day/month before some commenter eventually comes along and points out is from years or months ago and no longer urgent/breaking/relevant.
2.) You try to get online only if it's very late at night or very early in the morning, but if you find yourself using the internet at any other times, you're sure to keep your browsing sessions brief, because you're worried about tying up your phone line.
AND NUMBER ONE:
You regularly hi-jack the comments sections of your friends' statuses to wish ANOTHER friend who commented a happy birthday (despite the original status having nothing to do with anyone's birthday at all.)
SO, FOLKS, IT'S TIME TO 'FESS UP!
DIGITAL IMMIGRANTS - Have you done any of these? Are there any habits of digital natives you want to call us out on?
DIGITAL NATIVES - Are there any other tell-tale signs of the digital immigrant demographic online or habits they have you've noticed are specific to that demographic? Which tendencies specific to digital natives do you wish we'd denounce & abandon?
Looking forward to your comments!