In the recent past, photo and video cameras featured simple functions, while photo development or video playback was a complicated process. Further, in the past, costs were substantial, compared to currently affordable photo cameras, as cell phones features now include photo camera, video camera, photo album, photo frame and even video player. However, such features also involve a degree of exposure that you should monitor closely
There are no parents that do not praise their sons. Ask anyone and you will find answers, such as: "That boy is a genius;" "He always passes with flying colors;" "Youngsters nowadays are a step forward from the ones in the past," and plenty of other answers.
Generation after generation, the idea of kids being a lot smarter and inventive grows stronger. And parents are right: kids evolve and grow up according to the society and the world in which they are born. However, something that always remains the same is the fact that kids remain kids. They come to this world willing to explore, learn and experience it, and no matter how much potential they have, they will always be nosy, amateur and naive. That is why education at home and school is never off the table.
Feeling out of place with regard to technology these days that seem to vanish easily is a really normal fact for those who are not digitally native. New electronic equipment has tiny buttons, bright lights and LEDs in unimaginable spots, eccentric functions that in many cases are shallow and useless. Changing channels on TV seems a hard job for those who were not born before the nineties: just in a single remote control commands for TVs, DVDs, home theaters and cable TV decoders are put together. A simple remote control that only seemed to turn a device on and off; turn the volume up or down and change channels turned into one of those control panels that happen to be in most supersonic jets. Needless to say: One feels old.
That very remote control in the hands of any kid will take only a couple of minutes to become a simple and easy-to-use tool without anyone teaching them how to use such gadget.
This is the case for cameras and video cameras. In the past, they did not only have limited and simple functions but also were expensive tools not intended to be used by anyone younger than 15 years old. We needed to think very well the image we wanted to capture, create an acceptable frame and only after letting everyone know we were about to push the shutter, we could proceed to take the photograph. Developing was expensive and slow indeed; therefore we could not afford to waste not even a tiny frame from a single photo.
But the technological revolution changed the outlook: nowadays, cameras and video cameras are digital; developing was substituted for file transfers through a cable -even through more practical ways like Bluetooth- and costs have been decreasing, thus giving easier access to these devices. And that is not everything: nowadays, cell phones have embedded cameras.
After doing this recapitulation, one feels that everything has happened really fast, but one takes with sadness that is necessary to step up and get on the technologic train. That is why no one refuses to buy their children a state-of-the-art camera, a smart phone or an mp3 player with capacity to store all the discography that used to take about 20 years to compile.
The matter that worries is that many parents in order to move on in this trip have neglected their kids. In the belief that they are like fish in the water, parents limit themselves to provide their children with equipment. Parents, think that the only thing their children need to use technology is the inherent skill to handle objects that as appears from the evidence, they are able to discover more easily than the grown-ups.
It is true that kids learn to use digital cameras in less than few hours but, do you know what they are doing with the pictures they take? According to research from Fundación Telefónica, 17.5 percent of interviewees think that they can post any photo of relatives and friends; 8.7% does not seem to have any problems with strangers having the chance to know about their likes and personal life. If you ever recommended your kids not to talk with strangers, why did you not do it with Internet?
There are more statistics: more than half teenagers have their first cell phone (most of them with cameras included) before being 12, and 41 percent of them has gotten one without asking for it, as their parents, regarding the worries that insecurity causes, have opted to give their children cell phones in order to keep in touch.
If you are considering stopping reading and heading for your kids' room in order to hide their cameras or plug out their computers, then you have not understood at all: it is a matter of making company; encouraging a critical view regarding the use of technology but, how could you do that if you do not know technology?
No one gives what they do not have, so the main recommendation is that you explore your camera, surf in the entire menu on your cell phone to get to know all its functions or try to master your remote control. Or better: create a Facebook account, contact your friends and live the experience. That is the only way you could enjoy the pleasure of meeting up again, identify your kids' security risks and understand the range of temptations to which your kids are exposed every day.
Translated by Adrián Valera
Cristian Fonseca, a businessman in La Candelaria district downtown Caracas, was doing the accounts in his small shop office on Sunday December 21, 2008. The Christmas shopping season kept him working late hours into the night. It was around 11 p.m. and his phone rang. A friend broke the bad news to him over the telephone.