My parents got our first computer when I was three years old. I remember them putting it in my older brother’s room since he was in high school and needed to do homework on it. That didn’t stop me from sneaking into his room when he wasn’t home (or even when he was home) so I could play solitaire. When I was four, my parents bough Preschool Education Software for me to play on since I couldn’t go to actual preschool. I still have fond memories of those games (They were the Freddi Fish, Kid Pix, Carmen San Diego — all included in this awesome Buzzfeed article!)
The preschool games turned into other CD games I begged by parents for. I was slowly spending less time with Barbies and toys in my room and spending more and more time on the desktop computer, a concept outlined in the Relative Constancy Principle. “People only have a finite amount of leisure time. Time spent on new communication technologies will come at the expense of old communication technologies (or other leisure activities)” My brother, even, started using the computer more than he played on his Nintendo 64. When he moved out, the computer was all mine and that was the same year my Mom got an AOL CD-ROM in the mail.
I absolutely hated AOL. I hated the sound the dial-up made (Music to my ears…) I hated getting disconnected when my Dad picked up the house phone. I also hated that awful feeling when I logged out to see my session cost over five dollars. That changed when my parents got the free AOL plan. By this time, I knew more about the computer than my parents ever did. I could send short emails to them, my grandparents, and cousins. I knew how to IM my friend who lived down the street, and I had a pretty awesome email signature. I was spending more time online than I was playing the CD-ROM softwares games that had been piling up before we had internet.
My earliest memory of using the internet was my daily routine of listening to radio KOL. It was a AOL radio station I listened to every day when I got home from school. It has now disappeared, but it was fun while it lasted. I think the first big mistake I made online was the day I found my brother’s MySpace account…via his forgot password email. I was in middle school and all of my friends had MySpace accounts. So, being a dumb middle schooler, I logged onto his account, changed the password, deleted all of his friends, and quite literally over-took his profile to make my own. I guess you could say it was a mistake because he got mad, but it was easily resolved because he could just make a new one with a different email.
Using the computer and internet has really benefitted my education. I firmly believe that using educational software when I was unable to go to preschool helped me become an advance program student. My Mom told me once that my elementary school suggested numerous times I skip a grade, she kept turning them down, but we always thought all of that time spent getting a head start on the fundamentals in ABCs and 123s really helped me get through school with high marks. I think it helped me become a critical thinker. a problem solver. I think it has definitely helped me career wise since I am a communication’s major and my aspirations include the use of social media online. Without computers, I don’t know what I would be doing or even what I’d be like in general. Life would be very different and I’m not sure I’d like it very much.