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10 Technologies Kids Already Don’t Know How to Use


9
Computers
“What’s an IP address?” OK, it’s not JUST kids that might struggle with configuration settings. © cri1810/iStockphoto
“What’s an IP address?” OK, it’s not JUST kids that might struggle with configuration settings. © cri1810/iStockphoto

Using old-school computers took a lot of technical savvy, especially the early ones that booted you directly onto a command line and required connection to external storage devices and other components. They've gotten more user-friendly over the years, with more intuitive graphical user interfaces (GUIs). With the newest OSes, you don't have to do much (if any) configuration, which is making the background processes and setup of computers a bit of a mystery to modern kids. And more and more computing is done using mobile devices, which require even less tinkering in the background. According to a survey by educational nonprofit organization Project Tomorrow, in 2013, 64 percent of students primarily connected to the Internet through 3G/4G mobile devices and 23 percent through a smart TV or gaming console [source: Riedel].

Most people probably don't know command-line directives, but modern kids also find powering up old desktops kind of foreign, since you have to turn on the computer, monitor and all other external peripherals separately rather than hit one friendly power button. The younger generations also increasingly don't know how to do things like change WiFi and other configuration settings, troubleshoot computer issues and reinstall the OS (which might be necessary when the computer has contracted a virus). With most new smart mobile devices, you turn them on and they work, and you download apps from an app store and they just run. If something goes terribly wrong, you turn them off and back on, or jump out of the app and back in or hand them to a professional to fix, rather than doing the tinkering that was once par for the course with older computers.


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