My sons, 11 and 8, are steeped in computer lore. The elder boy especially is fascinated by computers, and I’ve been buying him magazines like Chip and Digit to feed his appetite. He reads these mags cover to cover and bombards me with questions, some of which I’m not able to answer. I’m happy he’s having fun and learning. Who knows, maybe he’ll make a living with computers one day. The flip side is that he has a long wish list of gadgets he just has to have “to maximize his talent and skills.” I’ve become expert at fending him off, and when cornered, tell him he’s welcome to buy anything he fancies when he’s older. How will I get the money, he asks? Well, start with part-time jobs when you enter college, I say. He’s now on the “give me ten bucks a day” track. Help me save, Appa, he says. I did buy him a piggy bank. So, that’s fair enough, I guess.
But this post is about the way working with computers has influenced his language. He looks for his eraser to delete something from his notebook. I gently tell him it’s erase, not delete. He says he needs a backup pen for his pencil box. At his age I’d have said a spare pen. He wants us to upgrade our house because it’s old. The other day he asked my brother-in-law (who travels a lot) whether he’d traveled in North India. When the answer came in the negative, my son asked him why he confined his browsing to South India.
This computer influence was brought home to me in a dramatic fashion the other day when I was reading aloud a Hindi story to him. There was a knock on the door, and before my son went to open the door, he looked at me and issued a one-word command: “Pause!”
I felt like a voice-activated media player.