Last Sunday my youngest son and his wife (who are millennials) helped me select a new smartphone to bring in the new year. Admittedly, I am conditioned differently for trust in that I would prefer not to have every data point about me connected to one mega cyber-tech conglomerate. It had been several years since I purchased a new phone, and I was confronted with so many options and requests for permission to allow or deny various apps access to my location and data which troubled me. It all made me a bit anxious.
As a child growing up in the 60’s and 70’s and then entering married life and motherhood in the 80’s, the greatest disturbance for me about the internet and integration of everything is the thought of giving up power (i.e., granting access to knowledge about me) to the corporate clouds via email, mobile phone number, bank information (for payment apps), and personal history for account profiles, etc. My millennials, however, are very comfortable, no, actually more than that…they are confident in their use of technology. And still they are very patient with me about my own hesitation. They offered work-arounds or told me, “That’s okay. You don’t have to do it that way.” No judgment. Just simple acceptance and patience that I am working with a different mindset when it comes to making fully integrated use of technology.
By the same token, I marvel at how my millennials have adapted to technology as adults and are making a life with these devices that is seamless and peaceful. They have studied the privacy settings and security measures and are making very conscious decisions about how their data is being used for their benefit; and they do it together.
So back to purchasing a new smartphone…
We sat at the table in the mobile communications store, with the sales associate (another young whipper-snapper) going through the order process to purchase the mobile device. Here we were: three millennials and one “tail-end baby-boomer” having a conversation about how people share photos. As I explained how my mother-in law recently shared photos with me by bringing out her file of paper they were printed on from her husband’s email account, the mobile communications representative volunteered to show us a photo of himself as an infant that his mom had just texted him.
As I sat there flanked by my son and my daughter-in-law advising me with so much kind attention, the young man handed over his phone to show me his baby picture sent by his mom and a wave of of love and acceptance washed over me. In that moment, the love of this young man and his mother, the love of my mother-in-law printing out photos and mementos of her grandchildren from the email account to share in person, and that love of my son and my daughter-in-law helping me all converged and my heart was deeply touched and enriched. It was a reinforcement to me, in that moment, that every generation has something to offer one another regardless of the technology that is involved or how it is used to share thoughts, cares, concerns, memories, ideas and experiences.
For me this is the hope. That no matter how much innovation floods into our world distracting us from our core connection to ourselves and one another, our attention is indeed our power. For every generation this is true. When we choose to give kind attention to family members and friends as we adapt to this constantly evolving cyber-powered world that is how we can strengthen family bonds in ways that truly make the devices work for us, not against us.
About: We are a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. Our mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God, the Creator of all humanity, grants every human being intelligence and free will to choose what to believe, and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device.
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and consultant on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber-powered world. She is a former technology executive trained in behavioral science at U.C. Berkeley, a mother of two grown sons, and an author of books for practical guidance on parenting, growing up and family life in the network culture. As a family and technology culture advisor, Joanna has appeared on 103.9FM The Fish, 710AM Keeping Faith in America, 1380AM The Answer, and Examiner.com.
- Cyber Safety for Kids and Families (Videos)
- Follow CoreConnectivity on Instagram
- Follow Joanna @cyberparenting
- Like Core Connectivity
- Request Core Connectivity updates via email
- Contact: Joanna
Peace on earth begins with peace at home.
YOUR DONATION HELPS THIS CAUSE