Narrowing her eyes before the smartphone screen, my mom tried to take a picture of our Vietnamese lunch.
I chuckled at the sight. I thought selfies are for millenials.
She then faced the screen towards the two of us.
“I can’t make a selfie. My hand is a bit shaky.”
For the first time, I did not instigate this picture-taking session. It’s her idea.
My mom belongs to the 70-year-old and above demographic who are thought by many to be slow, outdated and boring. When I encouraged her to use a smartphone, she was scared she would never ever catch up with the wonders of technology. But lo and behold, she has learned how to post and share a video without the technological wisdom of this Facebook guru.
And millenials like me find it fascinating.
I could still remember the days when we were enthralled with the magic of text messaging. Our first phone was a walkie talkie-like Ericsson (yes, not mine, ours). It was heavy and bulky but I will never forget our fascination of having a handheld phone, especially we never had a landline at home. My mom used it to connect to fellow teachers but most of the time it stayed home. I then had my own Nokia 3310 phone in my last year in high school. It was a luxury then, even though it only had three games (Snake was my obsession, though). This is my very mode of communication with my mom, until my thumbs have mastered the art of fast texting. Fast forward through GMs and unlitexts, many people are relying more on social media messaging because it is easier to send voice messages, documents and pictures. It is also easier to use when reaching loved ones working overseas.
I don’t know why most moms (and even dads) are more excited than millenials when they own their FB account. I have heard stories of friends who sometimes find it weird when their parents try to be groovy on their posts (like posting 10 shoutouts about household matters in a day, yep). Some of them have shared horror stories of parents berating their children through social media. I can’t help but laugh out loud when a fellow hiker told us his mother threatened him by posting on his FB page a news article about a mountaineer who died while hiking. His mother did not understand why he’s enjoying what she called a dangerous past time. It had surprised me that Parenting 101 could sometimes be attempted on social media (even for a 30-year-old guy like him). I guess technology has a way in revitalizing everyone. Perhaps, it’s a chance for our parents to try to relate more to us children. It could be their moment to express themselves through social media.
My mom would tell me she only want an FB account so she could communicate, especially with my sister, who’s working overseas, and me, who would only come home on a weekend. She wants to see pictures of her grandchildren while commenting how they have grown. She would send me cheesecake recipe videos and watch out how I am doing by looking at my posts and my hiking pictures. Seeing her pop-up on social media from time to time is like being home. It’s communication on a higher level. But it still carries the same message of love.
Soon enough, the evolution of messaging may take another major shift and the next elderly generation would have to grapple it again. I believe text messaging, social media and even selfies are not made for the young at all. That’s why it should never take it for granted. Let’s be thankful we have technology that can connect with everyone, even though we are ages apart.