By Michael DeHaven, retail sales manager — Lexington, N.C.; Lexington, S.C.; Milledgeville, Ga. | Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Kids are learning technology at an increasingly rapid rate.
According to child development experts, my daughter Lily’s 7-year-old brain is basically in peak form to meet new challenges and solve problems without much effort on her part (or her parents!).
That’s good, because so much more advanced technology is integrated into Lily’s young world than the one her mother and I were born into. She is a digital native.
What is a digital native? Unlike her parents, the 21st Century alone is her century (and, hopefully, some of the 22nd!). It will populate with intelligent machines, simulators and other immersive programming, until eventually much of her life is spent in virtual places and we live and work alongside advanced forms of artificial intelligence, or AI..
When her mother and I were kids, this was the stuff of science fiction, right? But here’s an example of the way Lily already accepts voice-interactive technology.
In Lily’s room she has an Amazon Echo smart speaker as well as Phillips Hue smart lighting. The speaker interacts with the lights, as well as the other two Echoes we have in the house. Our bedtime routine is to tuck Lily in and read stories with her. When we’re finished, Lily, not us, will direct what happens next. She’ll call out, “Alexa, turn Lily’s bedroom lights to pink, and down to 20%.” (Hue lights dim and change colors.) She’ll say, “Alexa, play ocean sounds,” or “Read me a bedtime story.”
She knows that education isn’t always top-down but sideways, shared, and that “broadcasting” isn’t the exclusive realm of the Children’s Television Network (Sesame Street) like it was for her mom and dad.
Lily has a YouTube channel, and 22 followers. On snow days — and there’ve been plenty here in the Blue Ridge foothills of North Carolina this winter — Lily might make an instructional movie on sledding, or how to make glow-in-the-dark and “unicorn” slime. She captures video with nothing more specialized than her iPad, edits clips and adds music in iMovie, then overlays simple effects in YouTube Creator. Here again, she’s adapting an online persona that considers external audiences — viewers — and she’s learning video production, and even some marketing.
Beyond Lily’s room and iPad videos, our home has devices which help create a more imaginative, immersive and connected home than anything I could have imagined at her age. Our Ecobee thermostat interacts with our Echoes so that adjusting the temperature is something Lily can command. We have a Ring doorbell that sends video of who’s at the door to our smartphones immediately. With Oculus virtual reality headsets, we can get a home workout in by shadowboxing in “Creed: Rise to Glory,” or rock climb in “The Climb.”
What Lily senses but doesn’t understand is that all these terrific devices and assistants do come with a string attached — a high-speed Internet network connection. That’s something Dad cares about a lot. As a retail sales manager for Kinetic High-speed Internet, I care about the bitrates and latency of my home WIFI and yours.
Windstream is investing millions in 2019 bringing its customers’ high-speed Internet, at home and work, up to meet the demand of live and video streaming, smart assistants and the Internet of Things.
You don’t have to be a savvy digital native to find out if your home has the right speeds to become as interactive as you want it to be! Visit our Kinetic Internet page to learn more about what speed your home qualifies for, or stop by my store here in Lexington if you’d like to talk more about what speed would be perfect for you and your own little digital natives.