Friday, January 07, 2011

1/7/2011 The emailer and blogger

This morning, I happened to catch a glance of the latest paper Gabriel's been carrying around, pencil in hand. He does this a lot: finds some or other writing project, usually an electronics schematic, and carries the paper with him everywhere.

This morning I noticed it was a comic strip, and looked at it in a little more detail. I was taken aback -- it's really pretty cute! Dave reads the comics every day, so the kids are hooked on them too, and Gabriel has adopted many common comic methods and drawing styles. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" likely provides inspiration too. This is an interesting, unexpected thing for my committed non-artist!

So I was telling Gabriel in the car on the way home that he should post a comic every day, like on a Web wait, a blog. Hey, he should start a blog! This discussion led to Julian really, really, really wanting an email account. Well, why not?

So I told the boys that after they'd put their things away when we got home, that we'd start an email account for Julian, and a blog for Gabriel.

Julian was very, very motivated. He really wanted to do this. I noticed with bemusement that for Julian, it's about the communication and reaching out to people. For Gabriel, when we first set up his long-forgotten email, it was more about the technical: typing things in, clicking buttons, seeing things work.

So I helped Julian set up a gmail account (no mean feat these days; they're not intended for kids and I had to fudge his birthday, then gmail requires sending a text message with a confirmation number), and a list of contacts, and then I showed him how to send email. He giggled a lot at first, feeling on the spot with what to say, but he got over that fast, and then started pouring out the messages. I lost track of who he sent to, but he tried to send a message to every contact I set up for him. His big limitation is being a very very slow typist.

Then it was Gabriel's turn. Mostly, he wanted to show off his comic strip. So I helped him set up a simple blog, scanned his latest comic artwork, and talked him through his first post. He had a hard time thinking of a title and URL for his blog that wasn't taken, but Julian had a great idea: The Days of Gabe.

Our time at home on weekdays is very limited, so I doubt there will be much time for them to update blogs or check email -- they're still very very slow at it. And they have a 7:30 upstairs-for-bath time. And, we're pretty stingy about computer time in general; they don't have free access to it and it must be asked for and earned. Still, electronic communication is inevitable in their lives. I project my own delight at receiving an email from my nephew onto our hapless family members, some of whom got one-liner emails today, written with the typical curtness of children, but with much laughing and giggling and joy behind them.

And to think I once thought my children would think I was ancient for growing up without ATM machines -- try computers and smartphones and email and blogs!


1 comment:

Louise said...

I enjoyed Gabriel's comic very much! I read the comic blogs of several friends' kids, and his is the best drawn by far.

I'd enjoy emailing Julian, too. If you send me his address, I'll initiate the conversation. In my experience, kids go from email to texting in the blink of an eye, and email stops being "cool" really fast. It's definitely something old, uncool adults like us do :-)