I’ve just made some coffee, it’s 6am, and while the children are still sleeping in the early hours of this Saturday morning, I’ve just finished opening up my newly-arrived Google Glass, discovered how to turn it on, and am looking at the image and start-up screen that leads me into how to operate Glass. After the first few wordless “swipe and tap” instructions, I have come to my first roadblock. Glass is telling me now: “Tap to complete setup on an Android phone”. I have an iPhone. OK, so now I have to repossess one of my kids’ phones??? I should have known…
Well, I podder around the kitchen with Glass still perched in place on the bridge of my nose, pour my coffee, and go to take a quick picture of “Mom’s First Time” wearing it – sans makeup, etc., by the way. I’m still in my nightgown savoring the morning quiet, and my hair reflects my just having woken up. Still, I get busy preparing for the kids’ Saturday morning and I hear my first Glass sound – about five sharp descending notes. Happy to realize I didn’t need the earbuds to hear it, I look up and the glass screen says, “Shutting down”. Fine. I need to figure out which phone I’ll need to use… (Didn’t know I had to have a separate phone. Maybe I don’t. I’ll see…) I go to my mama cave to enjoy my coffee and solitude (a renovated closet with armchair, flowers, books and incense.)
Fast-forward one hour to my techie-est teenaged daughter setting Glass up while I cook breakfast (a Minecraft aficianada, she wakes up early just to get to our desktop computer first): “Mom, don’t worry: You can use your iPhone.”…”Mom, what’s your password?”…”Mom, shush, please. I’m talking to Technical Support.”…”Mom, it’s set up.”
And from me as she turns my direction with Glass still on her nose (I’m still in my nightgown): “Don’t take my picture!” The conversation begins.
At my school, I’m planning a “Google Glass In-Class Field Trip” for my littlest students, and I’m planning to let each one try Glass on and give one or two commands. Most parents are excited and a bunch are volunteering, but just a few are a bit wary. My parents trust me, however, and they should: I’m somewhat of an old-fashioned teacher, one who works hard to give my students opportunities, cares deeply about each and every one, is adventurous but cautious, and takes no mess. They know that whatever I would protect my own children from, I would protect their children from: While they are in my classroom, they are my children. No harm will come to them. The smartest, most communicative parents know that I am already aware of the privacy and distraction issues with Google Glass, but that I also see the potential for breakthroughs in medicine, emergency response, the arts…I still need to investigate how it can help my adult ESL students. As for the little ones, I’m hoping to conduct a few live online field trips for my students next year, and if I’m successful in returning to Japan next year for my anniversary, I hope my students will share a little of that experience through Glass. I don’t know, it’s still a dream.
In any case, I have my own questions, and adjusting for age, I plan to let my students ask questions, too: Namely, “What does Google Glass do?”, “How can Google Glass help my family?”, and “What’s wrong with Google Glass?”. As for me, sometimes and magnificently “Just A Mom”, my biggest question, as it has been for years and will continue to be, is “How can I nurture my children and use technology to streamline our family life WHILE preventing my children from becoming thoroughly addicted to that same technology and missing out on life?”
I remember that Star Trek episode (are you surprised?) where the teens have been raised by computers built into columns standing in the middle of fields. All of the adults on the planet had been wiped out years earlier by a virus. I still haven’t tracked that Star Trek episode down (and PLEASE tell me if you know which one it is), but the planet’s children had no idea of how to interact with the human crew from the USS Enterprise. When talked to, they turned briefly to look, stared blankly for a minute, and then turned quickly back to their computers. This is already happening every day with people and smart phones. Ask a highway patrolman. Ask a mom.
Nonetheless, there is no doubt that our smart phones, our email, our advances in technology have served to streamline our lives, connected distant families, broadened horizons, allowed people – with no gas to drive across town – to pay a bill online or to apply for a job. The issues are deep, though, and call for more involved parenting, deeper thought and wariness, and a mixture of caution and commitment to adventure.
Well, my gorgeous macho husband is now cooking dinner, the older kids are out about town, the younger kids are outside playing tag with the neighbors, and I can hear my man’s deep voice emanating from the kitchen area through the clanging of pots and pans, saying tongue-in-cheek: “OK, Glass: Google, Stop, Go, Jump, Skip.” For my part, I’m happy to read – online, no less – that yet another reader has downloaded the Kindle version of my book on Amazon, “Real Life Stressbusters for Moms on the Go” and has given me a great review. Yay! Technology is working for us so far, and the kids are still enjoying the fresh air outside. It is not all rosy, however, so I am about to embark upon this adventure, because sometimes too much technology is not such a good thing.
This should be interesting.