Our Digital Home

We’re gonna start off our first official blog post with a wee overview of technology and how it’s changed since we (Kelsey and I) were born. We grew up in the days of cassette tapes, VHS players, home phones, and this beautiful sound:

Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants (Terminology lesson)

So we have these terms; digital natives and digital immigrants. I’m sure you can figure out the meanings, but we’ll break it down a little because Kelsey had never heard them before this post.

The term digital natives has been used frequently within the past two decades to describe people who have been around digital devices from a very young age. Millennials (Hey that’s us!)  (born mid 80’s to mid 90’s) and post-millennials/centennials (born mid-90’s to 2010ish) have had access to more digital content than any other age group before them. They are natives to the land of the internet and they have never had to live life without instant access to information or social communication on a global scale. (Microwave culture)

Digital immigrants are those who learned to navigate the digital landscape at a later stage in life. These are Baby Boomers and Gen-X’ers; parents and grandparents to the millennials and centennials. They are witnesses to the dramatic [crazy] change in the world and more specifically, in the home.

A Few Differences Between Millennials and Centennials (Nick’s Perspective)
  • Millennials grew up without social media but were quick to adopt it and make it popular. Centennials were born in a world where social media was already widely used.
  • Millennials still remember being told to get off the internet so the family could make a phone call. Centennials experienced broadband internet that could handle HD media, voice communication, browsing the web, and multiplayer video games. They have never even heard the iconic modem noise from the 90’s!
  • Millennials remember having to call their friends’ parents to ask to come over and hang out. Centennials have had access to smart devices since an early age and there is an expectation to always be available.

Oh Boy, The Times They Are A Changin’

Hold onto your pants because times have changed dramatically in the past 20 years. With the advent of the internet and the rise of the IoT (internet of things) we have access to more information than we know how to handle. According to the Global Web Index , there are approximately 4 internet connected devices per person in America. (wow) How to responsibly use these devices is still being discovered as more and more devices and services are introduced.

Growing up in 90’s America, I was constantly calling my friend Geoff’s home phone and had to request to talk to him when his parents answered. We didn’t have our own method of secretly communicating behind closed doors and social media was still about 10 years away from being popular. I rode my bike over to his house and if I planned on staying longer than anticipated, I called my parents on their home phone. I don’t want to say that life was “simpler” back then, many people make that argument when addressing how much has changed, but it definitely was different.

We now have amazing devices that have the ability to connect us to a world of information. They have opened so many doors for businesses, especially entrepreneurs, and have changed almost every facet of our personal lives. We have new ways of communicating, new ways of being entertained, apps that can get us a ride home, services that can deliver groceries to our door, and endless possibilities to come.

Ehh, Something is Wrong

Technology is great and it has made certain things easier…but it has also complicated things for many people. We now have psychiatrists studying the impact of digital excess on the brain. This is why it is so important to understand the technology you have in your home in order to address any issues that may rear their ugly heads.

Today, more and more children have access smart devices without parental oversight and many of these children are developing an obsession to being constantly connected. Many times I witness entire families with their phones and tablets out on the table at restaurants. No one is making eye contact and no one is talking. This cannot continue. We can’t become a society so wrapped up in our digital personas that we just ignore loved ones that are sitting at the same table as us.

Kelsey and I understand the need for technology in our homes. It is not practical to deny yourself or your children connection to the internet. We understand that teens are going to want to use apps such as Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat to connect with their friends and talk about which YouTube, Twitch, or Vine video they just watched. Parents cannot be ignorant to these things and our hope is to inform you on how to make those environments safe for your children. Fostering healthy communication between parents and children will reduce their desire to seek out the darker shadows of the web where pornography, violence, drugs, and creepy creep-o’s run amok.

Our Handy Dandy Goal

This is why we started The Handy Dandy Duo. We want to navigate the muddy waters and the constant changing atmosphere of technology in the home with you. We want to discover and research best practices when it comes time to implement guidelines in your home. We want to share with you what works in our home and what we plan on implementing as Little Dude grows up in a world that will be even more connected than it is right now. Kelsey and I will be discussing video games and their impact on families and individuals in our upcoming posts. We would love for your questions on the topic and hope to address them in our next podcast.


Kelsey’s Korner

Although I did add to the above content, there’s something I want to touch on separately here:

Communication; good ol’ interpersonal, face-to-face, relational communication. Guys, this is so important. We cannot get so consumed by texts, tweets, and posts that we don’t spend quality time with others. Our children deserve to have deep meaningful conversations with us, they should learn what it looks like, and how to speak to others face-to-face. If they don’t know how to one another in the real world, their ‘behind-the-screen’ communication will rear it’s ugly head. Don’t let yourself or your children gain a sense of invincibility or boldness behind the screen that you/they wouldn’t be face-to-face. You shouldn’t be a different person online than you are in person.

Relationships are not just through a screen. We should not be ‘friends’ with those who we’ve never met in person, because we don’t actually know who they are; is that their photo, where they actually live, or even a list of their real friends? Pick up the phone, go out to lunch, communicate, hug, laugh, cry together. Don’t emoji together. This will teach your child how to build intimate relationships with their parents, friends, and their future spouse. We were built for community and intimate relationships that continually grow, deepen, and strengthen.

2 thoughts on “Our Digital Home

  1. Just listened to the latest episode on itunes while cooking dinner and doing dishes (actually it took me two days of doing those things to hear it all, but I did).
    I used to love playing on my Game Gear back in 1992-1996.
    I did not own a tamagotchi, but I babysat one for my God-brother when he had gone to camp for a week. hahahahahaha.
    With our sons, during the school year they are only allowed to play video games on weekends for an hour each. They play an hour per day in the summer (although some days they choose to read books for a couple (or more) hours instead, even though they have to read every day as it is). We don’t give them much screen time and they are used to it and it is just a way of life for them. They don’t complain about it unless we discipline them by taking away their game time.
    The problem is that Rob and I used to have way too much screen time growing up because of problems involving our childhoods…and we don’t want our kids to have issues that we have because of all the screen addictiveness. My brothers called me a sponge because I watched things so much and would absorb quotes and all that was in the movies too easily. Rob was always playing video games with little else going on. We spend a LOAD less in front of screens today than ever. I only turn on my computer a few days a week for about 10-90 minutes depending on what I have to do on it (I am a resources adviser/social media manager for an organization so I do have to turn things on, but I schedule things sometimes a day or two ahead – and unfortunately, sometimes writing blog posts for them takes me up to 4 hours which I hate having to spend that much time doing it but it is “work”).
    I am like Kelsey….I loved matchbox cars and HATED Barbies so much. I was a tom-boy. I still am, but now I actually wear skirts and dresses…not much else has changed though in that manner. haha.
    When it comes to relationships with friends. . .it is weird. . .two of my close friends are those I met through the internet years ago (like 15 years ago we started talking for both of them). We have met in person many times since and so I guess I am a little more lenient about internet relationships, however, it was after getting to know them for several years each and being married by the time I met them (and both of them married too. . oh no, one was only engaged at that point). I definitely think kids have to be VERY careful and NOT meet people on the internet so easily. If they do, I definitely think they should know them very well and have people with them in groups when they meet. I don’t know. . my kids don’t have access to the internet and don’t even know how to use it/turn it on. They won’t be allowed to be on social media until they are 17 or 18 (I know a few teens who had those rules and it worked very well for them too). They won’t be allowed a phone until 16-18ish either. I didn’t even have a phone until I was married and hardly ever touched it until I got a smart phone in 2012.
    Thanks so much for the shout out to Simply Us!!! That was really kind of you!
    Loved listening to your podcast! Keep it up!!
    I talk a lot. . . .sorry this is so long.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the thoughtful comment. Kelsey and I come from two totally different families. I grew up with screens and game systems in every room of the house and I spent hours a day playing RPGs on the PlayStation. Kelsey grew up with a family TV in the living room and didn’t game until very recently.

      The topic of screen time is brought up quite often in our house and is something we hope we can successfully implement with our son. I think that your screen time rules are perfect. I also love the fact that you guys encourage reading books too.

      Liked by 1 person

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