Thursday, June 19, 2014

Zoe vs. My Smartphone

Remember those logic problems from high school math? If A is smarter than B, and B is smarter than C, then A is way smarter than C? Now substitute Zoe for A, my phone for B, and me for C.
Zoe was born smarter than me. She finds screens on my phone I didn't know were there. By the time she was two she was able to call people on my contact list. In order to hang up on them. (Sorry, Aunt Therese.) When she turned three, she claimed she wanted to talk on the phone, but if someone answered all she'd do was breathe heavily until I wrested my phone away. (Sorry, Grandma. And thanks for not blocking me.)

Original "Smart" phone

I know what you're thinking. Is this Mommy so dumb she's not aware she can password- protect her phone? No, it's worse. I password-protected it but then forgot what my password was. Impressed yet? 
What's sadder is I use the same passwords for everything. Attention, hackers! So, instead of forgetting, perhaps I "fat-fingered" it. More impressed? Feeling a bit attracted to me?
Adding to my technological aptitude I'm lazy. After that one fail I gave up on the whole password-protecting thing.
Being a Luddite, it's amazing I even own a smartphone, but that's only because it's hard to find the old clamshell phones anymore, the ones that were so satisfying to slap shut when your call ended. I told the kid, I mean, Mobile Device Consultant, at the store, excuse me, Wireless Communications Kiosk, that all I wanted was a phone. A regular phone. One that could maybe text too. That's it. No camera. No WiFi. No apps. Nothing with a cloud; they belong in my sky, mister. And no phone with "galaxy" in the name. In fact, I'd prefer it if my phone believes the world is flat and the sun revolves around the Earth. A non-heliocentric phone. Is that too much to ask?

I'm more comfortable with phones
that espouse the geocentric view.

When the kid, that is, whippersnapper, only blinked at me, I said, Just give me the phone you'd give your grandmother.
That's when I found out they don't sell those anymore. I'm convinced my mother snatched up the last one. I probably inherited my enthusiasm for embracing change from her. (It's impossible to get my mother on her cell phone. She calls you, then she shuts the power off to conserve energy.)
Back to Zoe. As she grew so did her technological prowess, and though this meant less random dialing accidents, her purposeful nefariousness grew. 
I don't mind if she looks through the pictures on my phone. She loves looking at herself, and her vanity buys me time if I need to cook dinner.
I also let her play game. The singular was on purpose. App-less and hapless, that's me. I'm what I believe the kids call "the whole package."

"But why must they call it "wifey"?
"That's WiFi, angel-face."

The one game I have is called Pet Shop Panic. The object of the game is to clear the colored blocks of a building so that little puppies, cats, birds, and monkeys can escape. Escape from what is unclear. I think in the original version there was supposed to be a fire. There are harder boards with pink bunnies and snakes, but I don't play those because God forbid I'd have to think.
Zoe likes this game. And, as with gazing at pictures of herself, it draws her in so I can do other things. 
The problem is her attention span is just short enough that when I think to check on what she's doing it's already too late and she's changed my settings. Either my alerts are all on vibrate or they're blaring "Let It Go." My wallpaper has changed to a blurry shot she snapped of her mismatched shoes. My icons are all rearranged. I'm on military time.
More problematic, she messes with my alarms. She turns off the ones I need and then adds other ones. On Monday, for instance, she turned off the alarm reminding me to pay her day care, and I'm only remembering now because I'm writing this post. 
Reinstating that alarm, I see I have some others that I'm pretty sure I didn't program, like the one for Sundays at 3:34 a.m. Not just a one-time shock in store for Mommy but Zoe checked the box for "repeat." I could almost believe this was an accident except for that extra step.

The symbol for WiFi availability or
a person waving their arms in panic?

Of course, now that I have a smartphone I don't know what I'd do without it, so in that way my phone is much like Zoe. Daunting and intimidating but strangely addictive. The main difference is I have control over my device, whereas Zoe's the one who pushes my buttons.
Zoe: 49; Universe: 0


  1. I literally had to take my password protection off my phone because I couldn't remember what it was. ANNOYING!!!
    I'm with you. Kids--even when they can't read yet--can do anything with smart phones, tablets, and computers. I regularly hand my phone to one of my kids (aged 14 and 10) and say "Please make my phone do X" They can do it much faster than I can!

    Ashley still doesn't have a smart phone. She is hoping her flip phone never dies. --Lisa

  2. I will send my sigh of relief via smoke signals. I'm glad I'm not the only one.

  3. My daughter figured out how to remove apps from my phone before I did. I saw them shaking on the screen, and I had to ask her how she did that. She then proceeded to rearrange them and astound me. Sadly, she was 4.

  4. One day their knowledge will be useful. Right now it's terrifying!