My family structure has offered me a distinct experience in observing differences in generations that most people may not have on such a personal level. My parents are probably not a part of the same generation as yours, and my sister is probably not in the same generations as your siblings either. My parents had me at age 15 in 1979, and then my baby sister was born 16 years after they had me. Essentially, I’m about 15 years apart from both my parents and my sister, which is something you don’t see every day. Even though 15 years doesn’t seem like an extensive amount of years, the technological advancements that have been made in the past 30 years are clearly shown in my family through our different upbringings in close, but drastically different time periods.
My parents both come from poor Hispanic families and neither of them had any college, but my dad managed to pull off a very successful career as an electrical engineer. He was always interested in technology and now he is that go-to tech savvy friend that everybody wants. From the time I was little he wanted to share with me all of the new things he learned and always made sure we had the latest and greatest computers, phones, televisions, etc. He was fascinated by technology, and I became fascinated too. My mother on the other hand still has to ask me how to open up Firefox (we had to tell her she couldn’t use Internet Explorer anymore). My little sister who is now 4 years old has been using her own iPad and iPod touch (don’t even get me started on that) since she was 2. She can navigate iOS like a pro and is on her “phone” (iPod) more than I am. It’s almost embarrassing when she asks my mom in public if she can have her phone! Certainly I know she is not alone as kids younger and younger these days use digital devices very regularly.
From the beginning he instilled the importance of knowing how to use computer (and then some) because he understood the necessity of digital literacy because it was something he had not had growing up. Although my dad had a huge part in my digital literacy, it also helped that I was a total nerd when I was younger (I’m super cool now don’t worry). When I was going to “Kids College” the summer after my 4th grade year I asked my parents if I could take a typing class, and I became the fastest typer in school. I thrived in the computer lab and would light up when the other kids would ask me for help. When I was in the 5th grade my parents wouldn’t let me have a Myspace, but they let me have my own website instead (I still don’t understand their logic to this day). My dad helped me get started but I ended up coding almost the entire HTML for my website and I was much more advanced than most people my age. In middle school I took as many elective computer classes as I could and also enjoyed helping my fellow classmates who always seemed to struggle more than I would. In high school I took AP Computer Science classes (that’s when it got hard), and in college I decided to part ways with computer science but digital literacy in general is still a huge part of my life and now I still feel like I do have a slight technological advantage over the average person.
In my daily life now, computers have become mainly a source for writing papers, researching, and social media. I no longer spend time genuinely learning about technology; I only use it. What I mean by that is I am not spending time learning new programs, or manipulations, or just general use of computers. I have basic digital literacy and then some, but I haven’t done anything for a while to expand it. I use it for the most basic and surface level functions from searching on Google, to liking a post on Instagram. A part of me wishes I were creating websites and programs for other people to learn and use. I still can’t imagine my life without this digital literacy I have, but I will always feel like there is more to learn about our existing technology.