January 2, 2013

Chief Family Information Officer

By: Eric Cohen
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As a parent it is the way of the world that your child will overtake you as you age. At some point you won't be able to help them with their homework, run faster than them, lift more, and so on...and one thing I see happening earlier and earlier is our children taking on the role of CFIO "Chief Family Information Officer". Within days of receiving his first smartphone, my eleven year-old knew more about settings and capabilities than I did, even though I've had one for years.

When I decided to change the ringtones for each family member on my phone, I could have spent an hour or so trying to figure it out. Instead I went to my CFIO and was quickly directed to the most efficient way to install them. Same thing when I wanted to change the battery life display setting from a bar to a specific percentage. While this makes my life and adaptation to these new tools easier, it also imbues my children with a sense of confidence derived from contributing to the family. And now it seems my seven year-old daughter has surpassed her old man in the smart device revolution. She's too young (in our opinion) for her own phone, but she has a new iPod touch and knows her way around the device better than I do.

And it's not just about phones and devices. I'm a business professional, and as such, Powerpoint presentations are a way of life. While mine are clear and simple, my son creates presentations that "wow". His have graphics that pop, embedded videos and are timed to music and more. I now ask for his help when I need to add a feature to one of my presentations to an important client.

There's a recent video about the baby that tries to operate a magazine like an iPad, you can see it here.
As exposure to devices and computers grows, I wonder for our kids, what amazing developments and devices will there be that allow their kids to become the CFIOs of their own families. In hindsight, I can recall cell phone and iPad like devices from Star Trek, I can't imagine what the future holds.  Feel free to leave a comment below with some thoughts of what is on the horizon for them to master as CFIOs, or how your kids help you with your devices.

Have your say


1) Brigett said:
That video is hysterical and so true! I found myself describing a payphone to my 9 year old the other day. And on a recent roadtrip he could not understand why he couldn't facetime his friend from the car with my "antiquated" iPhone 4 (there was no wi-fi). I definitely feel old when I remember how exciting it was when they came out with the fax machine. My kids don't even know what that is because anything can now be emailed as an attachment! I give up on trying to outsmart them!
3 years, 11 months ago
2) eric said:
I remember the first time I saw the internet! Our kids will never know a world without it...
3 years, 11 months ago
3) Kyrie said:
I have heard it said that we (parents) are digital "immigrants" but our children are digital "natives." We are the first generation of parents trying to figure out how to raise our children in an entirely digital world. What limits do we impose? What are the potential benefits and consequences of technology use among children? It's a good topic and one I hope to hear/read a lot more about (mostly on my iPad, of course!).
3 years, 11 months ago
4) eric said:
Kyrie Interesting phrasing and very accurate. That means my mom who refuses to get an iphone/smartphone and learn to text, etc is like the old woman from the "old country" who refuses to learn english even though she moved to America 10 years ago.
3 years, 11 months ago
5) Susan Barbaglia said:
I think the dependance the children have on these cell phones is very scary. They can say much more hurtful things on the cell phone then face to face with a person. I recently took my daughters cell phone away because of inappropriate things she was saying on it and now she is literally having withdrawals.
3 years, 11 months ago

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