I’m not sure when it happened but after spending the last 4 days in Englewood with my niece and nephew I have come to realize that Google runs the world. Hands down.
My sister in law, who is a copy editor, was sitting at the dining table trying to finish a little work. My 5 year old niece was sitting beside her reading about sea life and various other things on her own computer. Wanting to spend some quality time with my niece and sensing that my sister-in-law could probably get a lot more done with no distractions, I decided to take her for a swim.
My adorable niece is 5 years old and learning to swim so I wanted to work with her. We started by practicing floating and then we practiced kicking our feet and that’s when we had the following conversation.
Me: Kick your feet really hard, you know, like a mermaid.
Niece: Mermaids aren’t real!
Me: How do you know they aren’t real, have you ever seen one?
Niece: No, but I googled it!
When I was a kid if I wanted to know anything my first source of reference was my mother. I’m pretty sure I drove her crazy as I asked her everything from ‘why are the clouds in the sky white’ to ‘where do babies come from’.
For a time my mother’s answers were completely satisfactory and up until the time I turned 9 or 10 I wouldn’t have even considered questioning her, but somewhere in that time frame the idea of a stork blessing a family and dropping off a baby as it flew by just didn’t seem logical to me. That’s about the time I consulted the children’s encyclopedia that my mom kept in the bookcase in the living room. Unfortunately it didn’t offer much information and neither did our copy of the World Book Encyclopedia.
The next step in my quest for information was my Grandmother’s house because she had the most up to date and complete set of the World Book of Encyclopedia. No luck there either. When you got to that point you had to ask your mom to drive you to the library, it was the only option when I was a kid.
Usually you could find what you were looking for at the library. Well, barring no one had checked out all the books on the subject, or checked them out and then forgotten to return them. Because if there were no books on the subject at the library, then you were forced to turn to your most knowledgeable and trusted friends, and that could turn out to be rather embarrassing.
I learned where babies came from in the third grade from Kelly Thomas and not only was it the grossest thing I had ever heard of but I also had to pretend that I already knew and that I was just ‘testing’ her knowledge because I didn’t want her to tell all of the other kids that I didn’t already know.
That was the system back in the day. Depending on what answers you were seeking it could take anywhere from 5 minutes to 5 days and depending on your source, the answers you were seeking may or may not have been the correct one.
Based on that you can only imagine how happy I was when the internet came along and thus began my love affair with the all mighty google. I’ve loved it since its infancy. It’s why my twitter handle is @googlejunkie, I’m seriously addicted.
With such immediate access to all that information one can only hope that the children of today will be much more intelligent and far more educated than the kids of my generation, a theory that was proven later in the day when I asked my niece if moray eels bite and she replied with ‘not usually unless you disturb their homes’. Yep, she googled it.
Now, I realize that google may occasionally provide false information as well. Anyone who’s ever googled symptoms of a common cold and came up with a cancer diagnosis could attest to that. But hopefully no kid in this generation will go around thinking a man can spit in a woman’s belly button and produce a child.
No, the only real downside I see is that you can’t really prevent your kids from seeking answers and that’s not really a bad thing, is it?
On Sunday, my 11 year old nephew was watching a sitcom on Netflix when he turned towards his mom and yelled out “Hey Mom, what’s afterbirth?”
“Quick” I said, “somebody hide all the computers, iPads and phones, stop the google search!”
WTF, it must be Wednesday.
You know how it works, tell me your wtf moment of the week.