Can you live today without being a true digital native or a digital immigrant? My mother seems to think so because although she does have a small comfort level when it comes to using some of today's technology, she doesn't believe that it really makes life that much better.
For instance, the other day I stopped by to see her and to my surprise my niece was there as well. My niece happens to be a digital native and although my mother believes in spending quality time together as a family, my niece would rather "text" her friends with her pink "chocolate" while keeping her ears plugged up with an Ipod Nano. The entire time during my visit, I watched as my mother attempted to engage my niece in conversation with very little success. It was apparent that this young digital native had more interesting tasks to complete which did not include chatting with grandma. During the 30 minutes of my visit, I literally heard my niece speak maybe a total of 6 phrases of dialog to my mother which made me wonder what exactly she stopped by for. Afterall, wasn't this a visit?
So let me ask, technology is a great thing right? For a digital native you get to stay in constant contact with your friends especially if a new Coach bag just became the hot thing. Or you are the first person to learn all the words to that song you just downloaded to your MP3 player. Or perhaps the GPS device in your car will allow you to find all of the Starbucks within a 5 mile radius. Well, my mother would beg to differ. You see, she'd rather discover the Coach bag being on sale herself by driving to the store and being surprised at the huge SALE sign above the rack. She would also rather walk into a store to purchase a cassette tape and look beneath the cover to learn the words to a song she has just heard while driving in her car. And she'd rather pull out her Yellow Pages telephone book to find the local Starbucks.
My mother is a very successful woman who uses the smallest amount of technology when necessary and is quite happy with her life. To her, grasping technology means additional learning to understand why we need it, how it actually works and why can't she continue to do what she does today. My niece on the other hand is a typical broke college student who complains that she hates school and wants a job making tons of money. But of course anytime a new gadget is made available, she has to jump on board because it's NECESSARY.
So I ask, is technology required to aid my niece in becoming a polished and content woman just like her grandmother?