Tag Archives: Cellphones

A Baby Is Born . . . via Text Message

The first text came in around 9 pm.

The grandpa-to-be needed to update the family on what was going on.

K is in hospital waiting fur the baby to come. She has been there since one this morning. They are about to give her an epidural and then try to speed things along. Will try to keep you all up to date if I can keep my eyes open. 

This was grandpa-to-be’s first blood grandchild and to say he was elated would be an understatement akin to saying Mount St. Helen’s got a little burpy back in the 1980’s.

I’m sure that this is nothing new to the older relatives of children being born these days, but the sense of immediacy and connectedness that this engendered was amazing to me.

Way back in the old days when I first blessed this world with the spawn of my loins, things were a bit different. And I don’t say that just because of all the dinosaurs roaming around.

My dad was the only grandparent who lived out of the state and so we had to call him in advance and let him know we’d be inducing our first born on a certain day. That way, he could plan ahead and be there when his first grandchild came into the world. Everyone else we delayed because we didn’t want our entire family in the delivery room.

We had to plan. Then, once the proto-Sarcasmo was born, the only people who knew what he looked like were those who came to look at him directly in the face and be blinded by his astonishingly good looks.

Non-immediate-family had to wait until we had taken the first of approximately 7 gillion pictures of the boy, had said pictures developed at a local photograph store, picked up said pictures and then mailed them out to interested parties. It was weeks before everyone we cared about knew that we were parents, much less had seen the little dude.

This time, though, it was like we were in the delivery room with the AlmostMom is smiling because the epidural has kicked in real nice and she's feeling no pain in the delivery room as she works to birth her first baby.beautiful mother, older sister, smiling dad, amazing aunts and gobsmacked grandparents.

We received pictures via text message and then e-mails with more pictures and even a video or two. It was a connected birth the likes of which I’ve never experienced before.

Say what you want about the intrusiveness of modern communication, how cellphones and computers and the internet are forcing us apart from each other and into hiding behind screens of glass, but there are definite upsides to this.

Not only did I know that Scarlet Jane (also christened Baby Jake by her grandpa) was born, I was able to look into her adorable little baby eyes and see her mother smiling back at me, the same adorable face I’ve known since she wasn’t even a teenager.

Thanks, Grandpa and Grandma, Auntie L and all the rest for your great updates. Thanks for showing us how it’s done here in the 21st century. And welcome, Scarlet Jane.

Share on Facebook

Of Course That’s A Camera In Your Pocket. . . And You’re Glad To See Me

We’re raising the most overexposed generation in history.

Starting around five years or so ago, just about the time that cellphone cameras became good enough to produce things that resembled people rather more than they resembled colored blobs, parenting has begun to undergo a seismic shift.

Back in the good-old-days, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and I had to walk to school uphill — both ways — in the snow barefoot, while dodging alligators every single day, taking a picture of your little dude was a bit more of a production.

You had to get out the camera from the back of the closet, make sure there was film in the camera and it hadn’t gone bad. Then you had to make sure there was enough or it might run out in the middle of the photography session.

Once that was taken care of, it was off to find the perfect outdoor light because flashes back then were — at best — more inscrutable than instructive. Once the pictures were taken, you had to then wait until you’d finished the roll of film.

You’d take the exposed film to a camera shop, wait several weeks to have the pictures developed (without any touch ups or changes) and then eventually bring them home. If you were lucky, you got maybe one viewing of the photos. Maybe someone put together a scrapbook, but, once the pictures were in there, they weren’t coming out. Ever.

Cellphones, digital cameras and, most especially, the iPhone changed all of that. Suddenly, we had access to a camera all the time. Not only that, but we could take pictures anywhere or any time. Once it was taken, we could mess around with it, give ourselves mustaches, maybe change hair color or background or make it into a black-and-white picture. We could see it as many times as we wanted, send it to as many people as we wanted, do whatever we wanted as long as we wanted.

It was to photography what the free-love movement was to sex.

When I first started out as a parent, folks told me that we would take a bunch of photos of our first, much fewer of our next and, should we have a third, count ourselves lucky if we found one or two of that child.

Instead, we’ve got a lot of pictures of our first little dude. Of course. Not so many of our second son’s early years. Then, round about the time our youngest came along in 1999, things started to change. The number of photographs blossomed with the acquisition of our first digital camera.

Once we began to have good cameras on our phones, the number of photos slammed into an exponential growth curve.

Instead of it being a special occasion, now I take pictures all the time. Heck, when Hyper Lad and I checked into our hotel room when we went spring skiing, I took about ten photos of only the hotel room. Just to set the stage. In case I needed them for something.

It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even do much in the way of posing my subjects as I figure I’ll just start snapping away and eventually get the one I want without having to pose. Which is the good thing about digital iPhontography.

And the bad thing about digital iPhontography in that I have so many, it’s sometimes daunting to sit down and go through them all to find ones I want to save and see again.

Which is why all three of my young dudes flinch and start running away whenever I bring out the phone. They’re certain I’m going to start documenting them. Again.

And, for the most part, they’re usually right.

But the expense in time is well worth it. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent flipping through old digital photos, looking at my sons.

This might be the most overexposed, overphotographed generation in history, but I can’t make myself be worried. I love the idea that we’re going to be able to watch them grow up over and over again whenever we want to.

So, bring on Mr. DeMille because they’re ready for their close ups.

Share on Facebook

Freaky Friday: Not-So-Social Networking

by Richard

Technology is changing the world again. Oh, noes! Woe is us. The New York Times, the nation’s self-proclaimed newspaper of record, recently ran an article that seemed to be all about lamenting that teenagers send a lof of those new-fangled texts.

The Pew Research Center found that half of American teenagers — defined in the study as ages 12 through 17 — send 50 or more text messages a day and that one third send more than 100 a day. Two thirds of the texters surveyed by the center’s Internet and American Life Project said they were more likely to use their cellphones to text friends than to call them. Fifty-four percent said they text their friends once a day, but only 33 percent said they talk to their friends face-to-face on a daily basis. The findings came just a few months after the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that Americans between the ages of 8 and 18 spend on average 7 1/2 hours a day using some sort of electronic device, from smart phones to MP3 players to computers — a number that startled many adults, even those who keep their BlackBerrys within arm’s reach during most waking hours.

The story leads with a lamentation that kids don’t play outside or talk to each other face-to-face, an obvious generalization that can be disproven rather quickly by looking outside my window. Zippy the Monkey Boy and two friends, one from school and one from the neighborhood, are out there skateboarding down the street. Speed Racer and his friend Spridle are out back using hammers to whack away at their club house. No phones in sight.

To date, much of the concern over all this use of technology has been focused on the implications for kids’ intellectual development. Worry about the social repercussions has centered on the darker side of online interactions, like cyber-bullying or texting sexually explicit messages. But psychologists and other experts are starting to take a look at a less-sensational but potentially more profound phenomenon: whether technology may be changing the very nature of kids’ friendships.

The question on researchers’ minds is whether all that texting, instant messaging and online social networking allows children to become more connected and supportive of their friends — or whether the quality of their interactions is being diminished without the intimacy and emotional give and take of regular, extended face-to-face time.

The earth-shaking answer to this question will shock you: It’s too early to know. Well, I’m convinced.

There’s a lot of concern in the article about how technology is going to cause the brains of our children to become rewired to pass by empathy and lose the ability to understand the nuances of body language and face-to-face interaction. I’m sure our great-grandparents felt the same way about the automobile.

Here’s the thing. People and societies do not stay static over time. Those that do tend to fail. Living life is all about change (although the change that has caused me to actually like a made bed is a little worrying) and how we adapt to it. The phone was going to make us cut off from our neighbors and now these scientists are upset because kids aren’t spending hours talking on the phone to just one person.

I think they might be worrying a bit too much. Sure it’s probably something we should keep an eye on, but there’s no need to panic. Kids will continue to seek out friends to spend time with, even without electronics.

The other day I told Zippy the Monkey Boy he needed to call his friend and ask him some questions about something that was going on during the weekend. He looked at me like I was crazy. “What?” he said. “You’ve never heard of text messages?” He laughed and said people don’t need to talk when they can text.

Was I worried? No, not really. They were trying to coordinate the food they’d need for when they spent the night out in a horse field raising money to fight cancer as part of the Drumstrong fundraiser.

Technology will change us, dude, and it will change our children faster than it will change us. But that’s not always a bad thing. Little dudes will always want to play and meet up with each other. They’re just going to be doing some of it differently than we did. Just like we did it differently than our parents did. And so on.

So, in summation, relax.

Share on Facebook