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Ah, technology. Can’t live with it, can’t live without out. More of the latter, actually. Whilst there are times when technology won’t behave, it’s a vital part of our existence and the advancements over the years are truly remarkable. For children using devices and engaging with various platforms, there are many elements that should be monitored, discussed and thought about in this high-tech world. Thanks to Penny Macoun, author of Gorkle, for sharing her insights, tips, and flashbacks, into technological changes!
How often do you hear someone say, ‘A Gremlin has it’? or, ‘It’s stuck in cyberspace’?
Technology is an extremely useful thing… when it works.
When you use any form of technology, such as a computer or a mobile phone (if you have one), it is important to use it appropriately. Never send a text message or email that you really don’t want somebody else to find.
I can remember when I was young, yes I was young once, and I can see you rolling your eyes thinking, “Why do adults always want to tell me how things were when they were young”, but back to my point. When I was young we only used computers at school to play games and most households still used electric typewriters.
If you made a typing mistake, or as you know it; a typo, on an electric type writer, you would have to use liquid paper on the paper to cover up the mistake, wait for it to dry and then type the correct letters over the top. This was not too difficult to do, because an electric typewriter printed a line at a time, so you could check the screen before you hit enter which made it type the letters in the line before sliding back. Really old typewriters would type every letter individually, so if you made a mistake, you had to use an old version of liquid paper and line the tape up exactly over the space to print the correct letter.
There were also no mobile phones. We had to call a person’s home phone which is known as a landline. Nobody calls it that but that’s what it is; a landline, because the line goes across the land and connects from the telephone exchange to every house. Back in the old days when I wanted to ring a friend I would have to ask my mum’s permission. I would dial the number by using a phone that actually had a dial on it which was round with little holes that you put your finger in to turn it around to dial each number. Newer phones were made with buttons. My friend’s mum would usually answer because as children we were never allowed to answer the phone and had to ask to speak to whoever I wanted to speak to.
Yep, back in the dark ages, technology was some mysterious thing that most people didn’t know much about. The internet hadn’t been invented and the only way to send a message was to use a weird object called a fax machine where you would dial a phone number and the machine would scan a piece of paper and it would print on another piece of paper from the machine that connected to the phone number you dialled.
So, for someone who grew up in a world without a lot of technology, it is really frustrating when it doesn’t work properly. If something doesn’t work properly, people would wonder why, they get frustrated, scream, shout, and blame the gremlin.
When a message gets lost people often say, ‘It’s stuck in cyberspace’. This happened to me one day when I was texting a friend. Our messages got mixed up and he got the first text a few hours after the second message, and I said, ‘Maybe there’s a gremlin out there!’ That is what gave me the idea to write the book Gorkle. The first thing I thought of was how Gorkle looked and what his name was. I then thought about where he lived in cyberspace and how he actually got the text messages. I then began to write my ideas down and drew a picture of Gorkle. That was how the story was created.
TIPS FOR KIDS:
To always be safe when sending messages make sure you are polite and don’t share any personal information about yourself or anyone else, because if Gorkle or any other gremlin or human happens to read it, you don’t want anyone to be in danger or get into trouble. It is so important to be safe at home, at school, at the park and in cyberspace. The same goes if you are chatting online in chat rooms, which I hope nobody does. This is even more important – don’t share any information and always tell an adult who you are are talking to online.
Remember, technology can be fun, even if it is a bit frustrating sometimes, but you always need to use it sensibly and safely because you never know who’s watching – cat, dog, human or gremlin – all eyes are on technology.
Website: HOME | Penny Macoun Author
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