Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Raising a nerd

By K.J. Cardinal

I guess to no one's surprise, really, Anna has turned into somewhat of a tech savant. A nerd, if you will.

The fact that her father runs this blog, produces online video for a living and is a whiz with Photoshop, I'm sure we all expected this. But, I don't think I ever envisioned her entering Nerdom until much later in life. I mean, the kid's only 28-months-old and she's more tech savvy than a lot of grown men and women I know.

When I was a kid, Tiffany and I would fight over who got to push the buttons in an elevator. Now, Anna battles with us to play her favorite TV show on-demand, let her have a turn on the Wii, watch a blu ray, or her favorite, check out her songs, movies and games on our iPhones. It's rather insane.

At just six-days-old, I ran the above photo in a post entitled "Work-at-home Dad." In hindsight, I should've called it "Nerd in training", because that's what has apparently happened.

It's now second nature for Anna to point at the icon on the desktop of my computer and ask me to "play Back in the day". Do you know of another 28-month-old that can identify the home page of Youtube and ask to "watch Mater"? I doubt it.

These are all things that make up the wonderful Anna, but what's really astonishing is watching her navigate her way around the iPhone. I swear that Steve Jobs would die laughing if he saw her motoring her way through pages of apps to find the one she wants.

When I was a child, I can clearly recall knowing what the cover of the Eagles Greatest Hits album looked like because it sat in my parent's livingroom next to the record player and my dad would blare "Already Gone" at ear-damaging decibels. Now, Anna knows the album cover to multiple albums by Jack Johnson, Kings of Leon, Counting Crows, Weezer, etc. because she knows how to turn the iPhone sideways to use the cover flow view to select the song she wants to hear.

Just the other day I went to listen to some music in the iPod app of my iPhone and there was a playlist that popped up that I had not made nor ever seen before. Apparently, Anna made a "genius" playlist for the song "In one ear" by Cage the Elephant... it was so awesome that I saved the list and listen to it all the time. Coincidental? Maybe. But, the playlist did feature a ton of Anna's favorite songs, so who knows.

A few months ago, I was wondering if Anna's exposure (or perhaps, overexposure) to the iPhone was having a positive or negative impact on her. Just a few days later, I stumbled across a story on Boston.com that talked about the positive developmental impacts. Not that Boston.com is my parenting bible, but I agreed completely.

Here's perhaps my favorite graph from the whole story...
She belongs to a new generation. These 'mobile kids' are the purest breed yet of natives to the wireless world where the rest of us are refugees. Their fluency with technology and expectations of instant access to everything will eclipse even those of their older siblings and cousins, the 'digital kids' weaned on desktop computers wired to the Web. This is why my 4-year-old is incredulous when I can’t honor her request to replay the Taylor Swift song we’ve just heard on the car radio. She simply can’t comprehend how something electronic could be beyond our personal control, even if we’re talking about public airwaves.

Neil Swidey, the reporter in this case, hit the nail on the head. That's really Anna in a nutshell. He was politically correct in calling this iPhone-using generation of toddlers "mobile kids", I just simply refer to them as nerds. But don't get me wrong, I'm a very proud parent of a nerd.



  1. I love it! Anna is DEFINITELY a nerd and DEFINITELY takes after her Father's heart. It's so cool to see her in action and all the things she can do...we may have a genius on our hands :)
    -Aunt Kate

  2. I could watch this a thousand times and still laugh. I love how she comes up with an answer to the picture even if its not entirely correct. My favorite is the angel that she calls a princess. I bet Suzanne would think that was cute too.
    You, Angie and Sammy should all be proud of the "genius" in the making because she gets it from all of you.
    I really enjoyed the entry KJ.
    Love you all. Love Mom