Technology. It is an industry that has grown immensely in the past ten to fifteen years. I am sure you can remember the days when cell phones were used for solely for calling people and internet was the dial-up kind that could only be used if you didn’t have to make a telephone call. It was a time before technology ruled our lives, especially those of kids and teenagers. Kids these days really don’t know how great they have it – access to the world at their fingertips.
A few weeks ago, my friend who we will call Ethel, a super-mom of three boys, told me a story that really got me thinking about the future.
While on the commute home from picking up her boys from school, Ethel started listening to her voicemails over the bluetooth in her car. First up: her middle sons’ principal was giving her a call in reference to the email she had sent concerning her son and a situation at school. Ethel racked her brain and thought maybe, just maybe, she had sent an email and completely forgot about it. But the more the principal talked and the more she listened, the more this feeling of ‘something doesn’t sound right’ grew in her gut. She turned around, looked at her middle child and ask him what in the world had he done. There may or may not have been an expletive thrown in there.
As it turns out, Ethel’s middle son, who also happens to be the technology-smart, wheels-always-turning one of the three, and also only in middle school, had created an email address with her name attached to it. Yes, creating an email account in someone else’s name is that easy. Her son had not only emailed his principal but also multiple teachers about various school-related items, all the while acting like his mother.
Not only was Ethel disappointed that her son hadn’t come to her with whatever issues he had, but she was also angry and upset that he had been impersonating her. She was also bothered by the fact that once he showed her all of the emails that had been sent, the grammatical errors and lack of punctuation made her look like she was either (a) an uneducated adult who didn’t know how to compose a proper email or (b) enjoying a wine or three during the day while the boys were in school. Both of those couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to Ethel, although option B does sound delightful.
When she finished telling me the story and I had a chance to let it sink in all I could do was laugh. Not at her but in astonishment because not only was I shocked, I was also impressed. How did her son even come up with the idea of creating a fake email account to carry out this plan?
When I was younger everything in school was done on paper. Need a signature on a form or a bad grade? Needed a handwritten signature. Needed an early dismissal note? Needed a handwritten and signed letter. There were a couple of times I had practiced my moms signature to see if I could get it right, just in case I ever needed to forge it. Shock. Horror. Yes, I was a teenager once and I did some questionable things. However, I never perfected it and luckily never needed to use it.
The point of these stories? Back when I was younger forged signatures is what parents had to worry about. Which, like me when it came to my moms complicated signature, most kids probably couldn’t pull off. These days? Kids these days have so much at their disposal when it comes to fairly-easy workarounds for impersonating their parents, i.e. creating an email account in their name. Most parents would not even think their children would do that, and most maybe wouldn’t, but it is a possibility this day in age.
Although my son is only two I wonder what kinds of things will he have at his disposal when he is in middle school. If this is what technology is like now and how far it has advanced in the past decade, what will it be like in eight years? From what I hear from friends who have kids in school, using a tablet is required and textbooks have sadly become a thing of the past. They have access to so much when it comes to tablets and the internet that it begs to question – how much is too much? I honestly don’t even want to think about it because I can already tell my son’s mind is vivid and quick-witted that I am sure he will pull one over on my husband and me soon enough, just like my friend’s son did.
I am interested to know, have your child(ren) ever done something like the above? Have they ever attempted to pull the wool over your eyes, only for you to find out later and, despite being so angry, you are secretly impressed (and slightly scared) with how intense their mind is? Does this story make you wonder what your kids will be doing in five or ten years? I would love to hear your thoughts below!