Kids these days

ORIGINALLY POSTED 18th August 2007

8,309 views on developerworks

Our eldest son (just turned 5) has been on school holidays for the last few weeks – driving my wife round the twist and winding his little sister up a treat at the same time. Today was my last day in the office for a week or so and we have the usual ‘kids’ stuff planned for next week.

Anyway, my son discovered the PC in the dining room a few months ago, and after working out how to play ‘Simpsons Hit and Run’ and pestering me to help him with the more difficult missions, he moved on to exploring Windows a bit further. A few days of amusement changing his user name and login picture and then messing around with paint. Despite me deleting the browser icons and seriously limiting his logon account I got home to find him logged on to the ‘Cbeebies’ website (The website that goes along with the Childrens BBC channel here in the UK) I asked my wife if she’d set him up on it, to which I got a no. Next thing I know he’s got Google up and showing me how he could play some games he’d found on the Surf’s Up movie website!

Neither my wife nor I have shown him how to use a browser, nor told him about Google!

I guess its changed days and this is just the next generation growing up with the internet. It did take me back to the late 70’s early 80’s when my Dad brought home a Commadore PET from the office over Christmas one year – playing space invaders on that tiny green screen. A couple of years later we got a Commadore VIC-20 (the baby brother of the well known C-64) with its 3583 bytes free message at startup. I would have been about 5 or 6 when I discovered pressing ESC followed by LIST would let you see the BASIC program that was running.

What goes around comes around

The feeling I had tonight when getting home must have been as my Dad felt when he came home and found me playing a space invaders style game on the VIC that should only have had 5 aliens to attack but was running with 20. When he asked what was going on I promptly showed him how to edit the NUM_ALIENS variable to make it 20 instead of 5 and re-run the program.

I guess my self-taught programming and learning the internals of the machine are hidden by the bloated operating systems we have today, but the principals are the same… I guess I’d better work out how those parental controls work…

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