My mother gave her old laptop to my 8 year old daughter on her birthday. Since then Loïs has started used the computer to look up stuff on Wikipedia, interact with friends and teachers on a social network and emailing her grandparents.
Last week, when I picked her up at school I overheard her talking to a friend. She was already connected to this girl on their social network and they had been communicating via chat there. A lot of kids in her class are online and connected on the local popular social network and even the teachers use it to send around information or photos.
Today they were exchanging email addresses, for the first time, and this is what they said:
Loïs: “So when I come home I will add you to my AddressBook so I can email you”
Friend: “Okay, I will accept you right away”
Loïs: “You won’t have to accept me. I can just add you”
Friend: “Really? That is weird. You can just add anybody?”
Loïs: “Yes you can, it is easy”
Friend: “But then you would end up with maybe 50,000 names in your addressBook of people who haven’t even accepted you as a friend”
Loïs: “Yes, funny isn’t it?”
So to these girls it is odd that you can just have each others address and contact details without giving permission for it first. They apparently grow up with a different idea about connecting because of social networking sites than we do.
A while ago Loïs asked me how old I was as a child when I got my first mobile phone. I explained that I was 23 and one of the first of my friends who had one. She was amazed at the idea that I grew up without mobile phones. She has a mobile phone (with a prepaid card with €10) which she doesn’t like because she wants to have an iPhone.
It is amazing to look at young children interact with digital cameras (which to them are just ‘cameras’), mobile phones (which are just phones) and computers.
I can’t wait to see how they will grow up and take advantage of technology.