We all know that technology can make life easier, but it can also make life horribly frustrating. Trying to navigate new updates, saving data, working around malfunctions for programs you depend on…it can all add up to a real digital headache. But for people who spend time around children, technology can also be a physical or financial disaster waiting to happen.
When a friend sent me an article about parents suing Apple in a class-action lawsuit after their kids accidentally purchased things ranging from a $1000 bar-exam-review app to a vintage automobile, my first thought was, Yeah, duh! Hasn’t this happened to everyone? Thankfully, my children have not purchased any vintage automobiles. But every time I let them near my electronics, they rapidly get to work, trying to sabotage me.
- Somebody bought virtual ice cream for a virtual giraffe on my iPhone. Seriously? Her ice cream costs more than mine? Do giraffes even eat ice cream? Did the children even mean to buy it? Yeah, they meant to buy it.
Enjoy it, Gina. That freakin’ ice cream cost me five bucks.
- On more than one occasion, children have lost work from my computer. The marvelous thing about laptops is that, if you are a baby and you are banging on keys, you can rapidly highlight-all using the touchpad mouse, hit one key to rid the document of all that pesky highlighted text, and then hit a couple of keys or the touchpad mouse again to save and close the document. If you’re especially spry, you can make it very hard to tell what you even did, making it very hard to undo what you did.
Is he thoughtfully answering emails for me? Nope.
- My sons especially seem drawn to remote controls. Let me clarify. When I say “drawn to,” I mean “like to press every button on, deprogramming the television and giving every show permanent Korean subtitles.” I am not a “tech person.” I do not enjoy trying to troubleshoot whatever is going on on my television that now remembers no channels but miraculously has Korean subtitles. When I use the remote to turn on the TV, it’s because I want to RELAX.
- It also turns out that being “drawn to” remotes means “enjoys throwing them in the trash” and/or “likes the challenge of pulling out one battery and putting it somewhere that no parent will ever look.”
- Noah had something that the other children did not yet have when they were babies: a Wii. The great thing about the Wii is that, when someone leaves a remote on the mantel, the wrist cord dangles down just far enough that an oddly tall toddler can reach it. These cords are awesome, because you can take them in your hand, and then swing the remote around, lasso-style. Then, you just CRASH! dash it down against the floor. Sometimes the battery pack even flies off. Sometimes it’s exciting because everyone yells and hollers and chases you when you’re remote-dashing. Perhaps unsurprisingly, none of the Wii remotes in our household are fully functional now, and the battery packs have completely died.
- Laptops are also fun because they are portable. So you can find one where a tired parent left it on the coffee table, and SMASH! fling it onto the ground. A well-practiced baby or toddler will try to throw the laptop in such a way that it lands on its power-cable connector or a wireless mouse plug-in. This has the effect of irrevocably screwing up some major piece of the computer’s functionality, not just making the screen shaky or something else merely inconvenient. My laptop periodically stops charging itself, thanks to this fun game.
- My children have deleted apps from my phone, called people I don’t want to talk to, and quite possibly unfriended someone on Facebook (Katie, do you think that was it?)
Just a speculation about a mysterious unfriending
Luckily, none of this is really a problem, because I have endless amounts of money, free time, and patience left! [loud, maniacal laughter] Ahem. [cough] So anyway, yeah, Apple in-app purchase victims, I feel you. And hey, enjoy that vintage automobile.
You don’t know where the remote is, do you?