I looked at my phone. I simply didn’t recognise it. The icons were in completely different places. I immediately guessed what had happened; Helen, my nine year old daughter, had been playing with it.
I asked her if she was responsible for my phone being unfathomably complex to use. She broke into a cheeky smile.
“I organised it for you daddy.”
Organised; that’s the word she used. Whereas once I knew where all the apps were and could find them in nanoseconds, I now had to spend ages looking for the most basic functions. In fact, it may have been quicker to employ a forensic computer specialist to find some of them.
I couldn’t get cross with her. The kid had meant well. Nonetheless, I was going to have to unpick her attempt to, ahem, organise my phone. This had involved creating a small number of sub-folders and moving all the icons into them, so I had no idea where anything was.
The unceremonious hacking of my phone has only happened once. The same cannot be said for our car’s sat-nav.
Despite the fact I have repeatedly banned the kids from playing with the settings, they keep changing everything. It used to be that they’d simply swap the day and night colours around.
They then got a bit more sophisticated. They discovered the audio settings and for a time we had an Irish woman narrating our journey. Helen and Izzy then discovered you could change the model of car. When we drive down the road now, we are often depicted as a Renault Twizzy. That, in itself, is quite amusing. Less amusing is the fact that the screen now depicts everything in a lurid green colour.
Helen and Izzy’s best trick, however, was to adapt the preferences. Every time we drove past a speed camera, the sat-nav would moo like a cow. I confess I found this very funny, although it took me ages to work out what the mooing cow was meant to be warning us about!
There’s also the issue of our Netflix profiles. Having created age-appropriate profiles for the individual family members, Helen decided to give us all profile pictures. Helen and Izzy are both young girls. Mrs Adams, however, is a smiling man with long hair and stubble and I am a superhero with a bald, tattooed head a bizarre face mask.
I guess we’re going to have to get used to this. Kids are always going to experiment with tech. Unlike us adults, who largely see tech as a tool, kid’s see it as something to have fun with, especially if it doesn’t belong to them.
I just dread to think what I find them doing next. Some close family friends have a teenaged son. He used his tech skills to hack into his school’s computer network.
The punchline? He owned up to it. What do you suppose the school did? Punish him or expel him? Well, I believe there was a little bit of fuss at first. When it had died down, the school quietly approached his parents and asked if their son would work with them to improve the security of the network.
Kids and tech. They know how to use it properly, right?
What have your kids done to your tech devices? Does your sat-nav moo like a cow? Have you had to apologise to NASA because your kids re-positioned its satellites? Go on, leave a comment below as I am sure other mums and dads must have great stories to tell.