The Apple of their eye

Apple Store, Covent Garden, London

The Apple Store is like a second home to our children.

When I was their age, we used to regularly go to Selfridges on Oxford Street. My mum would go off window shopping, leaving me in the electronics department where I (and other kids) would spend the afternoon playing the latest video games. At first Pong was all the rage. Then it was Space Invaders and Pac-Man on the classic Atari 2600. After that came the ZX Spectrum and other affordable personal computers, and with them ever more sophisticated games: Frogger, Manic Miner, Jetpac, Elite. If you were a child of the 1980s, you’ll recognise these 8-bit classics and many others like them.

We spent many a Saturday in this manner, finishing off with steamed pork buns from our favourite Chinese in Bayswater. Good times.

Nowadays we don’t travel in to the city as often as I once did with my parents. But if we need to while away half an hour or so, the Apple Store is the kids’ preferred location.

The technology has changed hugely. Children haven’t.

All three of ours love technology. I often tell the tale about how Isaac learned how to operate my iPod the week after learning to walk. They are adept at using Google or YouTube to answer any questions they have. Tech is as much a natural part of their lives as Chopper bikes and Rubik’s cubes were to my generation.

And so we whiled away a happy hour as the boys put the iPhone X and HomePod through their paces. Everything is so natural and intuitive to them because it is what they have grown up with. I’m reasonably technical but, like social media, this kind of technology didn’t exist until I was well into adulthood. It’s hard to keep up, especially as the pace of change increases.

At some point I will inevitably turn into my mother. Her first response when faced with any form of technology is to delegate responsibility to me or my brother. One day that will be me too, relying on our kids for tech support.

So just remember that. When I’m letting the kids loose in the Apple Store, I’m not deferring to an electronic child-minder. I’m investing in the kids’ skills that will benefit my future. Honest.

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