Last night, my son ran up to me as I came home and said he was meeting his friend on Google docs at 6:15PM (what?). Through his school portal, the kids are able to use the Google platform safely, sharing documents with other Cambridge public school students. Kabir’s technology teacher encourages students to share their writing with one another so they can provide feedback, revisions and suggestions to one another on their projects. So it came as as surprise that these boys had found another purpose for the editing feature in Google Docs. Genius!
As my son logged onto the portal and opened his document that he had shared with his friend, he squealed when his friend appeared. “Hi Kabir” his friend wrote on the screen. Kabir wrote back. They engaged in a “conversation” online- talking about football, sharing pics of cool players and puppies (so cute!), asking when the other was going to eat dinner and discussing other topics. And all the while, Kabir had the biggest grin on his face.
I had a flashback to sitting on my bed, deeply engrossed in conversation with my friend, phone in hand. Much to my dad’s dismay, I would tie up the phone line (this was before call waiting was available or affordable!) for hours on end, little spats ensuing over phone time. Eventually, conversations migrated to AOL messenger (do you remember when that was a thing?) but the excitement of talking to friends through different media never waned.
Kabir writes “Where did you go?” on the screen. Waiting, he turns to me and says, “I guess he is eating dinner.” A few minutes go by and his friend writes back, “Have to run Kabir- need to eat. Bye.” With a smile on his face, Kabir writes back “Bye, see you tomorrow.” As I watch my son, I remember that feeling hanging up on my friends after we had exhausted all the important topics. Despite decades between experiences, not much has really changed. And there’s great comfort in that.