Saturday, November 26, 2011

Digital Thanksgiving and Holidays with Family

We are wrapping up a Thanksgiving weekend with three generations of family. Our teens are not portable game device folks, though my son's borrowed Nintendo DS gets snuck under the table. I am fascinated, however, by the little ways where the digital divide affects the holidays. We have suffered for a few years now about the role of communal television in family gatherings. The older relatives don't have a digital video recorder, nor have it in their lives. They also don't have Netflix hooked to their TVs, which perplexes our teens. The kids and I check the weather on our smartphones and iPads, which perplexes our relatives in their 60s and 70s. They spend the morning with the newspaper, and wonder why the kids only look ot the funnies. The older relatives are less concerned about the kids getting texts from their friends during all waking hours. The kids, on the other hand, have gotten more subtle about it and have been gracious. Information sources seem to be the most interesting change. Our older relatives look to the TV and newspaper for information to make social decisions, like Black Friday sales, information on movies and TV, and restaurant ideas. My husband's aunt was intrigued to look at her own community on Yelp, seeing how other people review the restaurants in her area. She has had a computer in her den for years, went to broadband last year, and mostly leaves it off. The "always on" window into the outside world for her is "always off," or almost always so. The shift to having the Internet as an available window for information for decisions has never permeated her life. What has called our attention to the digital divide is the consideration of "normal" and information to make decisions. My family, much more digitally connected, consults digital sources for alternatives for many decisions. My older in-laws grab a small piece of data from the newspaper and make life decisions and daily activity decisions based on that smaller alternative set. How has technology affected "normal" holiday gatherings in your family?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Kids Brains? Good, Bad, & Grey

I sat through a great presentation yesterday by Dr. Aimee Drolet of UCLA Anderson School about how older consumers react to emotional messages and how their worldviews on the time they have left impacts the responses to messages.

One conclusion she reached from her own and related research is that older study participants were more comfortable with a balance of inputs -- good and bad, for example. In contrast, younger respondent in the US (not in Asia) needed to perceive something as either good or bad and had a difficult time with "grey." She said that wasn't the same in more communal cultures.

Hmm. I wonder if that is the same with our younger children and how that impacts their decision-making? My own tween/teen children seem to have positive responses to more things than I would expect, but I've never looked at their attitudes this way...

Friday, March 13, 2009


My oldest is 15 and took the PSAT for the second year - her school urges them to start taking it in the 9th grade for practice.

What is impressing her? All the lovely and expensive mailers from colleges she has never heard of. In a year when units of mail are down dramatically, my lovely teenager is impressed by old fashioned mailed brochures.

I view it that mail isn't otherwise part of my children's overdeluged lives of digital images. It now has become "special."

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ah, Daylight Savings Time!

This is the first school morning after Daylight Savings Time kicked in, "springing forward" for an hour Sunday morning.

Yesterday began the ritual of recalling how many clocks we have in our home. As the kids (and we) get older, whose job it is to change all these clocks come into question. This year, I noted we have more and more "automatic" clocks that reset themselves from a central server: cell phones, cable, etc. But we still have clocks on the microwave, clocks in our cars, wall clocks in the kitchen, living room, dining room...

We, as most folks, in theory have fewer watches. My three kids all have watches...somewhere. But two of them usually look at their cellphones instead.

I have something like 6 watches. Why do I have six watches? Well, I have one for the gym and working out. I have one dress watch. I have an inexpensive watch in green and another in red. Two others were gifts that usually sit in the drawer.

I finally have pulled out the pin in the three I rarely wear and they have become my backup watches. So that leaves three to remember to change yesterday...or I'll put them on later and not realize I hadn't changed the time.

Why are we doing this again? There is a nice piece on the origins of Daylight Savings Time on the US Naval Observatory's pages:

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Mabinogi now has elves...and why that matters at my house

Nexon, a South Korean gaming company known for the game Maplestory, has moved elves into Mabinogi. You would think that you had minted gold coins in our house.

Mabnogi, a "free to play" massively multi-player online role-playing game (MMORPG), runs the core game free and then allows you to buy more functions as features with a Nexon card, found at your local Target, 7-11, or other retailer. My son buys cards every so often to get more pets, weapons, and gear.

My two daughters, who both play the game as well, are more frugal. One found that there was a NPG (non-player character) giving away Elf cards for free and told the other. They spent quite a bit of time yesterday trying clothes on their new elves and chattering about a new expansion area in the game that was launching.

My kids have been fickle to games and virtual worlds for some time, drifting from one to another. Mabinogi has something for all three and is run very well. All three kids can play together on our home network system because we don't have to pay a monthly fee per user, but can decide to invest their hard-earned real world money to upgrade their experiences.

In addition, Mabinogi keeps freshening the game, adding features and places to keep them excited.

Would I rather they be reading a book? They do...long into the night so I need to return to quietly turn off their lights over sleeping heads.

The real magic is it has my 11 year old writing. She is cueing off of Mabinogi characters, creating her own stories for up to three hours a day on weekends. She has compiled a fabulous mini-library of engaging stories, taking these digital adventures in the world of words.

I've only played once. I guess I'm stuck in the glory days of my Star Wars Galaxies Wookie that I invested so much time on!